Seeking advice is an interesting concept. What is the point? Who do I ask? Do I trust or believe the source? What do I want to know? How much do I share? I’d like to answer some of these questions from my perspective and hopefully you can share your perspective as well in the comments.
I’m personally someone who values information. There is no such thing as too much information for me. Through life’s various experiences, I’ve come to learn that many don’t share that sentiment. I’ve also learned that I wasn’t always ready for the information I received and my reactions might not have reflected my best attributes. So, understanding who you are and what you can handle will help. Sometimes, you won’t know what information you can handle until you receive it. I do believe that this is the first step.
So, what’s the point? We all joke about the lack of receiving a manual when our kids are born, but we all know that there is plenty of information available. Let’s acknowledge how easy it is to get stuck in a rhythm of bad habits as dads. Maybe you’re a new dad and your routine has never included children. Maybe you’re a father of multiples for several years and your existing routine is not giving you the flexibility to adapt to the changes in your life or the life of your kids. I believe the point of seeking advice as a dad is to be the best version of yourself. If you agree with that, then your routine won’t be the only positive change you eventually experience.
Who do you ask? Some men put a lot more faith in facts than opinions. They want to make the best decisions based on the most accurate information available. Others may feel more comfortable in the connection they might have in other men. The experience and notoriety of a friend, family member or mentor may carry more weight than a verified and trusted publication. Don’t forget that one resource doesn’t have to be the “end all be all” resource, either.
A specific friend could have given you great advice when you became a new father, but you may need to seek the advice of a professional now that your situation has changed. That could prove to be more effective if you’re juggling multiple kids, a spouse and maybe your job/business. Now there is a difference between general advice and specific advice. Some of you reading this just need a bit of general information in order to feel better with where you are or who you are in life as a dad. For others, you need every detail possible to know what to do, how to think and what your next steps are.
That’s why it’s important to figure out what it is that you want to know. As my life as a father keeps changing, the things I want to know change as well. Depending on who I’m talking to, I determine how open I am with them. I establish how deep I want the conversation to go and what parts of their advice I want to receive or is even applicable to me. You should consider that thought process to get the most out of each conversation.
It’s great that there’s no “one size fits all” advice when it comes to being a great dad. We all have different experiences that are both positive and negative. Sometimes you go through something traumatic just so that the one person who really needs your story will benefit when you two finally meet. You may start or be featured on a blog to share your experiences. You might be asked to speak at a conference, participate in something social or even lead a movement!
I recommend seeking as much advice as you can because you and your children will win. As important as it is to seek advice, it’s equally important to share your story. You don’t need to be a professional or an expert, just being a dad qualifies you to help another dad. If we are honest with ourselves, this conversation about advice applies to more areas of our life than just being a dad!
About The Author – J.LeVar Bryan, Sr.
As a father of four and the founder/CEO of The Dad’s List, his family life inspires his work to recognize the stories of men who are redefining what it means to be a dad. He uses his talents to advocate for fatherhood through a variety of social media platforms, apparel and The Dad’s List Podcast.
To J.LeVar, it’s so important to craft the message from stories and use these resources as tools to engage with those who need to see, hear, and get involved.
In addition to The Dad’s List, he also runs LeVar Legacy Operations Agency. His agency solves simple problems for existing small business owners and those just getting started. From protecting your small business with access to legal counsel to website creation, graphic design, professional photography and video projects. For select clients, he serves as their dedicated Online Business Manager.
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