How to Be an All Pro Dad

all pro dad

Hail Mary passes don’t work in fatherhood.

Fathering is all about a dad moving the ball forward in his relationship with his child, one yard at a time, day in and day out. At the same time, avoiding major, costly mistakes and turnovers are critical as a man executes his fatherhood game plan.

Men who really want to be the best dads they can be—to be All Pro Dads—must study, watch, practice, and ultimately execute the fundamentals of fatherhood—love and leadership—with great purpose and perseverance.

To effectively execute those fundamentals, every father must know these 7 Ms—Makeup, Mind-set, Motive, Method, Model, Message, and Master. Then, and only then, will he be able to expand his capacity to love and, in turn, expand his capacity to lead his children.

The 7 All Pro Dad Fundamentals:

All Pro Dad Fundamental #1:

Know Your Makeup

What our children, and all of us, really need is to know our makeup—how we are put together—because self-awareness in this area is key to loving and leading in relationships. And the first step to knowing our makeup is to understand our true identity because our value lies in our identity—who we are. When we know our makeup, our capacity to love will grow. As we confirm our own unique identity and gifts, we can love and serve our spouse and children by affirming their value and strengths as well. And from that love for our family, we will earn the right to lead them in all areas of life.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #2:

Know Your Mind-set

Mind-set is simply your way of thinking, your mental attitude, or your state of mind about something. As a father, you must have the mind-set that being a dad is your most important job. And like a Navy SEAL, your mission comes first. You must execute your fatherhood mission of loving and leading your children with unwavering resolve and sheer determination. Your goals, your job description, your responsibilities as CEO of your family should exist only to enable you to accomplish that ultimate mission as a dad.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #3:

Know your Motive

Motive is fundamentally a heart issue. The word ‘heart’ has been used for thousands and thousands of years to describe the core of who you are, the “real you.” It’s the central command for all your thoughts, beliefs, desires, affections, conscience, convictions, emotions, and motives. Your heart will follow whatever you pour your time, talent, and treasure into. Who you are, what you say, what you do, how you think, and what you feel are all ultimately impacted by the status of your heart.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #4:

Know Your Method

As leaders in our homes, we should build memorable monuments with our children and we should also build those monuments for our children. Our children won’t reminisce about big events and big-ticket items. Rather, their hearts will be warmed by memories of the love, care, and companionship you showed them day to day. Those are the things that will make a lasting impression they will carry with them into the future. Take a small amount of your precious commodity, your time, to show love to your children.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #5:

Know Your Model

Each and every father must also know he is a Model. In addition to integrity, humility, and empathy, to be a superb leader in the home, a father must also model courage. If you are married, the very best thing you can do for your children is to love their mother. Love her courageously.
Tony Dungy knows what courage is all about:

Courage is the ability to do the right thing, all the time, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #6:

Know Your Message

Everyone has a message. You do too. Maybe you’ve discovered your message; maybe you haven’t. Your message is an integral part of your life story. It’s something you have to say to the world. Ultimately, your message should be something of eternal value that you have to share with others because of your love for them, not because you get anything in return. But when you pour that love into others’ lives, you’ll benefit too.

All Pro Dad Fundamental #7:

Know Your Master

What drives the decisions you make? Go deep and answer: “Who or what am I living for?”. When we answer this, we’ll know our Master. The gravitational pull of the source of our happiness will be so strong that it will influence everything else we do, including what kind of father we’ll be. We will live our lives for who or what we think gives us ultimate happiness—our master.

* * *

When you know the 7 Ms and execute the fundamentals of love and leadership with great humility and fierce resolve, you’ll leave behind a well-marked trail -a legacy— for your children, grandchildren, and future generations to follow.

It is my hope that when you make these 7 Ms your playbook, you will become a loving leader in your home, you will be a hero in your child’s eyes, and you will enjoy renewed and flourishing relationships with your family.

Your Turn

Very often as parents, we model what we know – what we ourselves experienced as kids. What is one thing you can do to better lead and love your family? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill is the founder and president of Family First, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the family. Mark hosts the Family Minute with Mark Merrill, a nationally syndicated daily radio program. He has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, numerous ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC network affiliates and national radio programs. His comments and writings have appeared in publications including USA Today, the Washington Times, and Sports Illustrated.

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