[00:00] Welcome to the Ziglar Show. I am your host, Kevin Miller, and today Ziglar Family’s CEO, Mark Timm, and I bring you episode 466 with Dr. Meg Meeker. One of the primary spokes of the Ziglar Wheel of Life is relationships. All parents want to hear this episode, as we are talking on the topic of fathers. For many men, playing the role of father is profound, but also daunting. Dr. Meg’s book releases today, May 16, 2017, and it is called Hero – being a strong father your children need.
[03:28] If you heard show number 458, you know Mark Timm. Mark is an incredibly successful business owner, father to many kids, and CEO of Ziglar Family. He actually introduced me to Dr. Meg Meeker. We both co-hosted this interview and it was incredibly insightful.
[04:19] Two big points about Meg’s message. Number one is she is a pediatricc doctor. She spent most of her time with kids; actually, all of her time with kids. So her perspective in this message is speaking on their behalf, not as just an adult observer. Also, as I mentioned before, for the fathers. Meg again emphasized this is about letting your goodness come out, not learning new tricks.
[07:23] Your book says as the culture allows mothers as head of the house, the role of the father has become inappropriately minimized and, in some cases, ridiculous. It starts by asking you to elaborate on that statement.
[07:42] You know, many people asked me why I wrote Hero. As a pediatrician for thirty years, what I have seen in my practice, as I see what happens, I also see what is going on culturally. And what I saw was women demanding more attention, you know, on the business ground and also on the parenting ground. And fathers are just sort of disappearing in the background. The decision, the prospecting of fathers, has radically changed from being a dad who’s a strong, good guy, to the family moron who can’t lead his kids. It is influencing kids, too, and you know kids are speaking differently with fathers in comparison to 20 year ago. So, we really have a father crisis in our country, because fathers are portrayed and treated as second-class citizens who need to be taught a lesson by 11-year-olds.
[10:12] Look at Mark’s story, personally being at work, being a rock star-successful CEO, and coming home and feeling inadequate. What do you feel about that?
[10:50] What Dr. Meg has said is right, that I couldn’t make decisions at home, so I found myself spending more time at work because I get confidence and clarity at work. And I can make 100 decisions with that confidence and clarity, while one at home. And society is saying that it is ok; work more, because that is what you are supposed to do. But, in reality, I have it completely upside down. So, it happens easily and is accepted so much more than it should be.
[11:59] I would like to speak to the women outside that I found myself as a strong-headed woman, raising four kids with three girls, with my husband, who is also strong-headed and very smart and is a pediatrician. Really, I found myself completely dominating and controlling at home territory. And I think that women, mothers, have fallen into that subconsciously because we have been proud of that; we have been proud to be outstanding mothers at home. We pride ourselves on controlling and dominating. We women and mothers should take a hard look at how we are really treating our husbands, or the fathers of our kids, because we are doing enormous disservice to our children when we communicate that way to our kids.
[14:26] I will ask you about this. I will not miss the opportunity to have you here, to have you speak on behalf of those listeners who are not fathers, women who, as the result of non-engaged fathers, they went though this. What could you offer to them?
[15:25] Here is what every person out there needs to understand. When we are born, we have a longing in our heart for a father to be a hero. And when those needs are not met, we hurt, we ache, we meet with lots of pain, and if we don’t resolve it, we share that pain into our marriage relationship, into our parenting. And so what everybody who wants to be a great parent, you really need to face a dial-back and think,”Wwhat did I want, what did I need, and where can I get those needs met?” And decide, “I am gonna bring those to my kids, what I didn’t have.”
[18:02] My question is, you are a doctor; what are some of those literal, psychological, tangible realities for the present role of the father, that children need and are not going to get without a father or father figure?
[18:35] Children right from the get-go understand the difference between mom and dad. So, for those out there who really think that they don’t need moms and dads, from a child’s perspective they long for moms and dads because they know they meed both. What that young child needs from dad, they don’t necessary need from mom. Again, this is from a child’s perspective.
[20:43] Looking on that aspect, here is the next thing you said, what I have pulled out from your book: Fathers need to see themselves the way children need to see them. You are, whether you know it or not, a center of their world, hub of the wheel that is your family, hero that you may depend on, so if they are not engaged they suffer.” So two questions from that statement that I have: first is that a lot of guys have a hard time believing that they are the center of their kid’s world. So many of them don’t feel connected, they don’t feel involved, they don’t know as much as their spouse, and even then they are the center of their kid’s world. That takes a little effort to accept that.
[22:58] I tell parents that when you look at the identity formation of a child, it is by and large done by watching a parent. We are talking about dads here, and reading the father — what dad is thinking about me. And when you get that, as dad notices me, he turns the phone down and he talks to me. That means I am important. If dad does that repeatedly for weeks and over a year, he turns into a 25-year old who believes he is important because dad said that he is important.
[28:45] Every father is wired with everything you need to be a great dad to his kids. And great parenting is really simple, but it is hard, as you say. Here is what I encourage dads to do, and through my book, Hero, I really tried to teach fathers how to see themselves im kids’ eyes.
[30:51] You said that every father is wired with what kids need, and a minute ago you talked about what kids experience when dad walks into the room. I want to bring it here. This is chapter five. You gave us possible resources or tactics to use ourselves. Three questions that your child needs to answer. I only read the first one before I choked up a little bit. I want you to lead us through these questions. The number one is, “Dad, how do you feel about me?”
[32:50] The one question in the three questions that I ask is, “Dad, how do you feel about me?’ So, if you wanna know this, think back to you as a child. Your dad walked into the room, how did you want your dad to feel about you? What did you want him to say? What did you want him to communicate? And here is what gets really simple. Even if you mess up your communication, if you love your kids and you are having a really bad day, kids know you really love them. You will never find a more forgiving person in your life for fathers, first your daughter and then your son. Because they need you to love them. And they are willing to forgive you over and over and over again. Always remember they need you more than you need them.
[42:48] When a father communicates, it intentionally states what you believe about a child, that shapes who that child becomes, not just later in life but throughout as an adult. And I hung onto that as a later-in-life in my first book, second book, and my sixth book. I knew that my dad believed and that is what I needed to write in another book. The reason a father needs to communicate with the belief of his kid.
[46:50] On number three, we are leading to. “Dad, what are your hopes for me?” Explain this. You mean hopes with expectation or encouragements?
[47:24] These are hopes, not expectation. We are so wired into helping our kids create a fabulous portfolio that we focus far too much on performance but not on character. And we’ve really got to stop that, because they see right through that. Kids do millions of things in order to keep the attention of their mom and dad. That can be a really dangerous territory to enter into. I am talking about communicating with your son and daughter. When they are adults, they can lead a great life; when they are young kids, they don’t have to be out-of-control teenagers. Your hope is that life will go well for them. They have strength in character to deal with trouble, if it comes. A father’s job is to stand behind the kids and help them to make life well for them.
[54:10] When a person you long for most for affection and love fails to give it to you; you will look for it anywhere you might get it.
[57:37] I wrote a book on stone fathers, stone daughters, and I interviewed so many women and I tell fathers this one thing and it is true about sons, too. Every woman takes one man to grade as a dad, because your dad holds power in your life. And you always want either more time with your dad and more healing if you have a bad relationship.
[58:30] You make a difference in the fact between what girls and boys need from their fathers, and I actually read that a little bit in your book, so I am just asking this to you here. Give me some insight here.
[59:15] A son and daughter need very different things from mom and with dad, and a son needs from father a sense of masculinity. Father is the one who shows him what maleness is about. And that is particularly true when he is a teenager who is very visual; he needs to see the picture of a good man. He also needs a sense of protection; he needs a sense of value.
[1:00:50] What a daughter needs from her father is that she is the apple of his eyes. She doesn’t have to be a great kid, but knowing that she is the daughter of her father gives her a sense of self-respect. A daughter needs to see how a good man talks to her as a woman. A dad never swears. Let me tell you, all fathers, every daughter compares every man she dates with you. So if you open the door, you will be kind, you don’t yell; then she will never want to be with the guy who does those things.
[1:09:00] The one thing that mothers don’t do. We don’t play with our kids, but dads do. It is really good for the kids to play with their dads.
[1:10:07] You know, studies shows that the children whose fathers read to them by the time they are six months old, if tested they are higher on the IQ at the age of three to the kids whose fathers don’t read to them. So you have the ability to boost up your child’s IQ in the very early years. We also know the kids who have fathers at their home, not a great father but an average, okay dad, they do better in school, they finish high schools, they go on to graduation. With the father at their home, they feel connected with their father, and that is the most important thing a parent can do.