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Today’s guest is Furkhan Dandia.
We go deep talking about:
- Self-forgiveness in the face of realizing our mistakes as fathers
- Finding a balance between letting your child explore, be creative and have fun as kids should, and discipline
- How to allow yourself to feel guilt and shame as a dad rather than repressing these emotions
- Why it’s vital for a father to perform self-healing work and grow emotionally
- Dealing with our childhood trauma and wounds so that we don’t pass them down to our children
- The importance of joining a men’s group in our fatherhood journey
- Why therapy is so important
- Being able to have an open conversation with your kids about anything and everything
- Teaching our children how to communicate their need for space and how to talk about it when they’re ready
Find Furkhan online at:
EZ Conversations Podcast: https://anchor.fm/furkhan-dandia
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad Work Podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 76. Personal Responsibility healing in parenting through divorce with Furkhan Dandia. We go deep today talking about self forgiveness in the face of realizing our mistakes as fathers, finding a balance between letting your child explore, be creative and have fun as kids should and discipline, how to allow yourself to feel guilt and shame as a dad rather than repressing these emotions. Why it's vital for a father to perform self healing work and grow emotionally, dealing with our childhood trauma and wounds so that we don't pass them down to our children. The importance of joining a men's group in our fatherhood journey, why therapy is so important. Being able to have an open conversation with your kids about anything and everything. Teaching our children how to communicate their needs for space, and how to talk about it. When they're ready. You can find for Furkhan online on Instagram at Eunoiazen EUNOIAZEN You can also find his local men's group in Calgary Mankind_Initiative on Instagram. And I think that'd be a great place to start. If you're local. I know there's a bunch of guys in Calgary who listen to this who follow us. So Furkhan is a fantastic guy to get in touch with. I have a lot of fun on this conversation. And I want to just thank Furkhan for being flexible because as will happen on a dad podcast, and this is the first time guys I was waiting for this. I've been waiting for this for like 70 episodes. My middle son, you know, got sick at school. He puked at school, we had to go pick him up. And this was like, right, as we were about to start the conversation the first time so for again, thank you so much for understanding, obviously, you know, I was waiting for this. I was I'm sure you'd probably hear kids screaming in the background of this once in a while. But it's just like, Ah, yes, it's finally happened. We've got that we've crested that hits finally happen on the downward podcast, we have been interrupted by a child. Hurray. Imagine that. It's great because that's it's part of life. And we got to be able to roll with the punches. So Furkhan, thank you for doing that. Guys. This is so fun. To do this with 4k, we have connected on Instagram, I was on his podcast actually, which you can check out. It's called easy conversations podcast, you can find that on Spotify or wherever else you you listen to podcast, that was a lot of fun. And man forget just gets it. We we we definitely connected a lot of things. He's going through a similar journey. And I find that it just helps so much to talk to other men about how they are going about their work. Because if you just get like one golden nugget from one man, it could change your life. And so like this is one of those conversations where I go like, Oh, yes, everything makes sense. And he is able to give us a perspective from having gone through divorce, which I can't give you. And so he's able to vulnerably talk about that and share how he's dealt with it in a way that I think is very powerful. And I would love to hear what you guys think so let me know on Instagram DadWork.Curt and we'll get into in a sec, but I want to make sure you guys know that we've got a couple ways to connect. Still, you can join us on the last Friday of every month for our free men's group community call for dads, we do a 90 minute call last Friday of each month, I would love to have you join us Dad.Work/Free, it's a great introduction to men's work to men's group. We also have a couple of men's groups Wednesday and Thursday group at the time of this recording are likely both full. But I would love to get you on the waitlist in case there's ever room that opens up. And we may end up looking at starting another group soon as well. But if those are filled, you can find that at Dad.Work/Group. By the way, if they are full, what you can do is you can join us in the village. This is our online community training and brotherhood community where you can take our courses, you can attend our workshops with the experts, we invite you can come to our monthly community calls, you can join me on a question and answer call. You can go through all of the online forum and ask for help and support and assistance and share your wins. All this stuff is available for you at the village Dad.Work/Village. I'm just I'm so pumped up about this work, guys. I'm so excited to be in there with you. I'm so excited to be doing this journey alongside you because I wish they had something like this when I was going through this. And it's just it's literally the it's become my life purpose. And I know that sounds cheesy. But to be able to share this work is life changing for not only the men who who accept it, but also for me to show this because I truly believe we heal the world we change the world by healing and changing one man one father at a time because then he parents better his child has a better life his child goes on to parent even better than this new man did. And you know that one or two generations from now we've got a different world, a more safe world a more empathetic world, a more loving world, a less reactive world, in a world where people get along better. And so that's is the macro consequences of doing this work. And it's why I'm so passionate because not only on the micro level does it change my life and change hopefully your life but man mentioned a better world that we can build if we continue to do this work together. Anyway, that's enough for me. This is a great episode. Thank you again for God for being on here. Thank you guys for listening. Incredible to have you on. It's just it's growing month over month and I'm so so grateful for you listening. Oh let's get in the episode with Furkhan let's go
All right, dads, I am here for another episode of the data rich Podcast. I'm joined today by Furkhan And dude, I'm excited to talk to you. We, we tried to record earlier and as happens on fatherhood podcast, one of my sons had to be picked up in the middle of our podcast, because there was a school emergency so to speak. So thank you, first of all for being so flexible. And just man Yeah, showing up and being here today, cuz I know we're gonna get into, hopefully some real stuff. So I just appreciate
Furkhan Dandia 5:24
you. Yeah, no, thanks for having me. So, you know, the feeling's mutual. Curt and, and you've been on my podcast, so yeah, it's all good. Excited to be here.
Curt Storring 5:34
Yeah, amazing, man. So I'm just interested to know like, what your fatherhood journey was like, I love asking this because it gives guys a sense of like, Oh, I'm not alone. Because some guys say like, oh, you know, I've always wanted to be a dad. And it's great. And, you know, it's just a wonderful, magical time for me. It was not that yeah, really had to work. So I'm curious, what was it like when you became a dad? What part of your life were you in? And how was your own, like mental state at this point?
Furkhan Dandia 6:00
Well, I mean, it's been quite the journey for me as well, because my journey, fatherhood includes a divorce too. But at the time, when I became a father, it was, it's one of those things I tell people is, you're never really prepared for it. As much as you can try. It, just everything out. All the preparation goes out the window, basically, that's how I look at it. And yeah, I mean, it was, it was such an exciting feeling when my son was born. I mean, the conditions weren't the best, it was like an emergency C section. So trying to, you know, navigate through that as he was born, and, and the nurses are rushing them around from room to room. And I'm kind of like, following around. And, yeah, I think that's, for me, it was a really cool experience, because I was the first person he kind of like, saw, because my, my ex wife at the time, was obviously dealing with other stuff. And she was in, in a tough situation as well. So yeah, I think just being there and being with him, at that moment, just by myself, was, I think it was, it was a really cool experience. And, and then recognizing in that moment, that I just become a father. And it was surreal, just being able to put all that together. And I remember, like, just even looking at them and telling myself that, you know, I'm gonna take care of you, I'll make sure I'll protect you, as you, you know, grow, grow older and stuff like that. And I've had to look back many times over the years of, and holding myself accountable, but also carrying a lot of guilt, where I feel like I haven't been at my best and and that's I think part of the journey is, is having that grace for yourself knowing that you're not always going to be at your best or you're not always going to be able to deliver as well as you'd like, as a father.
Curt Storring 8:03
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. And I'm curious what that looked like for you not showing up at your best because for me, it was anger, my overly controlling, angry yelling, everybody was miserable when I was miserable. And it's taken a long time. And and maybe we'll get into this in a little bit just figuring out how to forgive myself. But what was it for you that you perceive at least as being those times when you sort of fell short?
Furkhan Dandia 8:30
I think the biggest piece is letting my ego get in the way. And yeah, I think that ego peace is probably the hardest. And that manifests itself in different ways. Whether it's anger, I've had those experiences, whether it's just, you know, again, as being a single father, it's tough. I think there's times where my son says he doesn't want to hang out with me, he'd rather be at home with mum, for whatever reason. And that was probably the hardest in the early stages of being a single dad, but over time recognizing that he's not saying Dad, I don't want to spend time with you ever. It's just in certain situations, I'd rather be with mom and there are certain situations I'd rather be with you so accepting that that's part of the the unwritten agreement when you become a single parent. I think for me, the other challenge was even initiating a divorce. Knowing that I will be basically sacrificing my time with my son I won't be around 24/7 I won't be able to see him like I would normally if we were a family that was together. So I think that was really hard for me as well. And it's taken a lot of work to forgive myself and and have compassion for myself and be able to accept that It's not about quantity. It's about quality as a father.
Curt Storring 10:06
Yeah, man, how have you gone about forgiving yourself? Because for the longest time, I didn't even know what forgiveness meant. Like, I literally asked my grandfather who sort of a mentor elder figure to me. What do you mean? Forgive? Like, you just let the person off. And it was super hard for me because I was my worst critic. So what kind of work? Have you done around self forgiveness?
Furkhan Dandia 10:29
It's it's continuous. I feel like it. There's times where I'll make progress in one area, and then it's recognizing that okay, well, you know, it's kind of similar to leveling up. As you level up, the challenges get tougher. So it's the things I need to forgive myself get more a bit more challenging. I think to answer your question, like in terms of how I've been able to do that is recognizing that, first of all, I convincing myself that at any given moment, I'm trying to do my best. And I'm doing the best I can, in that given moment, with the circumstances that are presented to me the information I have. So I think the biggest hurdle for me was getting over the hump of, okay, well, I started this divorce, and my son's gonna hate me for it when he grows up. But it's like, recognizing that well, that was what I needed to do in that moment, to be able to survive, and then thrive. And if I didn't make that choice, then I wouldn't be the man I am today. And I wouldn't have the quality relationship I have with my son, he wouldn't have never gotten to know the real me the way he knows me today. And being able to navigate through that's been huge in my journey. But even over time, and I think we talked about it when you were on my podcast about there's times where I really hold myself accountable. But I carry this guilt and shame about certain things that I will do when I spend time with my son. But again, having that dialogue with myself that, again, I'm doing the best I can in that moment. And finding that right balance between letting my son explore and be creative and imaginative like kids are supposed to be and discipline. And it's a fine line. And sometimes I feel like I'm way too more, too much discipline around him, or I try to discipline them too much. And it's backing off and not be feeling guilty about it. But again, trying to figure it out. Again, there's no there's no instruction manual on being a dad, it's you have to figure it out as things come to you.
Curt Storring 12:54
Yeah, no, that's so right. One of the things that made that land for me more than anything, is was talking to a friend at dinner. That's like, man, like, what do you do when you make this mistake? How do you not like just hate yourself? Because that's where I went, I was like, Oh, I've ruined them. And he's like, Oh, I just tell myself, I've never done this before. Like, why would I be good at it? It's like, Oh, that makes perfect sense. And so like, your kid doesn't just come out knowing how to tie their shoe. And so you know, you teach them and then they watch and then they do and they do it 1000 times. And then finally they'll get it you're not like screaming at them, hopefully, hopefully not screaming at them, like, you know, hundreds of times they can just like, Oh, why can't you do this. And so give that grace to yourself to that took me a long, long time to learn. So I'm loving, that you said particularly the thing about like, you're doing your best, because I think we're all doing our best. And sometimes, like at least mine, my best was just really shitty. And I need to get better.
Furkhan Dandia 13:48
Yeah, yeah, I think that's part of it. I mean, the good thing about feeling that guilt or shame is you, you want to do better. And often when we get caught in that shame cycle, where we're only limiting ourselves from being able to do better, because we're so obsessed with whatever happened. And I think if you can use those lessons and improve, that's the best thing you can do. And and I think knowing that you're doing your best at any given point. And then as you learn, you can improve on that. But it's a journey, right? And it's like any job, you come into a job. Yeah, maybe you had training for it. But you've never really actually done the job until you're sitting in the chair, and you're learning and you're gonna make mistakes. But if you just sit there and guilt and shame yourself for making the mistakes, you're never going to improve or get out of that cycle and be able to do better.
Curt Storring 14:45
Yeah, and something that just came up for me is like curiosity around what your experience with your father was like, Is that something you're willing to talk about? Like, did you have a good role model? Did you take what he did? Or was it sort of a cautionary tale in your eyes?
Furkhan Dandia 14:59
You So I think part of it growing up, I remember having a lot of conversations with myself saying, hey, when I become a dad, I'm not going to be like this. And for me, it's, it's a little bit different. My dad immigrated to Canada, so he had a lot of traditional values that he wanted his children to adopt. And growing up in a Western culture, it was, it was difficult for, for someone like myself, I can't speak about my siblings, I can only speak about myself. But it was tough to balance, both kind of the values at home and the values when you're outside home, whether it's school, playing sports, hanging out with friends. So and being the eldest child, which, you know, for me, there was this additional pressure on my parents making sure I picked up everything from them and did well in school and everything. So from that standpoint, I did feel a lot of pressure, and I didn't have the best relationship with my dad growing up, there wasn't things I could speak to him about, it was never really encouraged. Even just expressing our emotions and feelings was never a role model. So growing up, and becoming an adult, I struggled with that, especially early on in fatherhood, I just didn't know how to do that, how to do those things. And I guess, I had to recall all those things that I struggled with as a child and not put my son through it. So quite often, going back to what I said earlier, when I do discipline them, I remember how my parents would treat me and how I felt in those moments. So that's a good reminder, for me at times that okay, maybe I'm being too hard on my son, and I should have experience with that, going through it myself. But I'm sure my son's gonna have his own childhood trauma or, or it's stuff that he's gonna have to deal with. So you can't really protect them from that. But yeah, that was kind of my experience. And until a few years ago, I didn't, when I actually repaired my relationship with my dad, things didn't change. So I really had to take that. Yeah, to take that on myself to repair and, and, and it was part of my own healing journey. That was one of the things I needed to do.
Curt Storring 17:31
Right, man, that's so powerful, you actually did that. And so you come here, you're, your father comes to your parents come here, have kids new culture, a lot of expectation on you as the oldest, you're balancing the home life and the sort of external cultural life. And I've heard that so often from guys in men's group who have similar dynamics, and there's a huge struggle, and you don't really get the support you're looking for emotionally. But like, how do you start doing that work? Because I also felt like I didn't really have the emotional support. And it really hurt having to go through this work. I was like, Oh, I'm here, because I'm hurting. So like, how did you even get into doing any of this sort of self healing work or men's work and growing emotionally?
Furkhan Dandia 18:14
I think for me, I always felt the I was very different. Growing up, I always felt like I had a lot of feelings about things. I just didn't know how to express them. Or sometimes I didn't even know what was going on internally, because I'm like, Why do I feel so upset or hurt by this? So I always had this urge to be able to speak about my feelings. So as I got older, going through a divorce, that was really my first time where I felt like I needed to talk about things. And I struggled with it because I tried to manage it myself. I was silent about it. I didn't really tell my friends. And until I didn't go for therapy, I didn't realize all this stuff that I'd had swept under the rug and bottled up for years. And, you know, I played the victim game internally, where as they go, all these things happen to me and, and, you know, I blame my parents and, but there was, I listened to David Goggins at one point, and he talked about his relationship with his dad, and he specifically said, something that really resonated for me was where he said, you know, basically, his dad was not a great dad, and were was very abusive. And he specifically said that, you know, whatever happened happened in my childhood, but now it's my responsibility to fix things and and be different. And that hit home for me because I, it resonated for me, I'm like, Yeah, I could sit here and blame all these external circumstances and people in my life that have impacted me, but at the end of the day, I'm a grown man and it's my responsibility to figure things out and heal if I want a better Your Future. It's really in my hands. And that was kind of the, the point for me where, as part of my therapy, I realized that, you know, repairing the relationship with my dad is one of those things that I can be responsible for. And it's not something I needed to really do for my healing, but it's something I wanted to do. Because it was it was important to me.
Curt Storring 20:26
Yeah, that's reminds me of something that I like to tell dads who follow us and work with us is it like, it's not your fault, what happened to you, but it's your responsibility to deal with it exactly what you didn't deserve. And I think this is where I personally got caught up. I was like, Oh, if those things happen to me, then like, I just must be bad. I just must deserve that. And I think that, like, that's where the shame comes from. That is shame, just this internal feeling that you are bad, therefore, you deserve it. And when you can uncouple those things, at least in my experience, it's like, oh, I can release the guilt, and still have to take up the mantle of responsibility to do something about it. And that's so empowering. Because I noticed like, like you to be in that victim mode, like, oh, man, all these things happen. And honestly, man, I don't know about you, but like, I had to go there first. I some guys trying like bypass that I feel. And then they just like, they got to come back to this. Almost like this red night anger feeling. And I don't know if you've experienced that in your healing. But like, as much as I want to move on, I had to go back and go deep, be like, I am angry. And I got to move on, or I got a alchemize it. So have you experienced that too?
Furkhan Dandia 21:34
Absolutely. I think I think that's part of the process is you have to accept what you're feeling and accept what happened. And you can, I think part of the problem is when you sit in that victim mode for too long, but I think you need to experience all of it, you can't bypass any part of the process. And that's how I look at it. And yeah, I mean, I sat there for, you know, a little bit of time, like, especially going through divorce and going through the challenges that brings and then remembering all the childhood stuff. And then remember, kind of going through the social isolation when people start picking sides. So all of it have started happening at once. And I remember feeling like a victim for a while. But I also remember snapping out of it really quick, because I was like, if I sit here, I'm just going to keep piling all this stuff on me and I'm not going to heal or I'm not going to move forward. And, and if I don't move forward, I'm just gonna fall apart here. So for me to courageously move forward and make different life choices and change my life, for that matter, start fresh. I needed to take responsibility. But your rate, part of the process is feeling everything, you can't skip any part of it. Because I think you're gonna have to pay for it later. So, so yeah, that's good. Yeah,
Curt Storring 23:00
that's really good. It's like, if you, I keep coming back to this analogy, and I really think it's awesome. And I want to be sure, it's awesome, because I keep saying it. When I think about emotions, I imagine like a lot of guys think of they imagine they eat a hamburger, right? And it goes down in their guts, and it doesn't digest. There's no digestive juices down there just sits there. Weeks, months go by it rots. And it's like really uncomfortable. A lot of gasp building up. They're like, Oh, no, I don't know what to do. But I'm just gonna, like keep pushing on because I'm a dude. And then at work one day someone like backs up, elbows, them in the gut. And what what's going to happen to that hamburger of repressed emotion? Well, they're gonna shoot it all over everyone else. Right? Yeah, like explosively come out. And I think that's like really true. It gets held in the body this anger or whatever it is that shame, guilt, sadness, embarrassment, it has to be expressed, you have to, I mean, the saying goes, feel it to heal it. And I think that's so true. We have to get good at actually feeling it. Were there any practices like awareness practices, embodiment practices that you use to get good at that? Because it's not easy when you haven't been raised with those tools? So like, how did you sit with those things?
Furkhan Dandia 24:14
I mean, I compartmentalize a lot of it. But for me, the biggest catalyst for change was going for therapy, and that's why I talk about it a lot. When I started going for therapy, it was just being able to speak out loud about everything I was experiencing was obviously therapeutic. But then being open to hearing some of the difficult truths, right being challenged and, and sometimes it sucks hearing that stuff that you know, you want to be told that it's not your fault. You want to be told that yeah, all the things happening to you really suck and people are cruel, but that's not the truth. You know, part of the truth is, you're crazy. Eating your own suffering. So what are you willing to do about it? And I think therapy showed me a lot of that. And I had to put a mirror in front of me to realize that I'm an equal participant in this. So, so what am I willing to do about it? And, you know, as part of that therapeutic process, I started reading a lot and learning a lot about myself, I got super interested with psychology to the point where I'm studying psychology to become a therapist myself. And that taught me so much I realized the the impact repressed emotions have on on our bodies and everything we do, the the way, we use defense mechanisms throughout our entire lives, to protect ourselves and lie to ourselves. So I think it was just gaining that knowledge and slowly practicing these things and adopting one little thing, I just recently read atomic habits. And I realized that I was subconsciously doing all those things was like, habit stacking, you know, I'd learned one little tool, and then I started to improve on that, and then add another tool to my belt, which I didn't have so. So it I mean, it's been a, it was a very long process, but much needed. And like I said earlier, you can't take shortcuts, unfortunately. You have to go through everything. That's part of the process.
Curt Storring 26:30
Yeah, no, that's wonderful. I'm glad that you went to therapy, because that's a huge step for most men anyway. And the more that we can talk about normalizing this sort of thing, the better. Because still, I think, guys good, like, oh, it's weak, if you need other help other support other like, whatever, even getting in a men's group. You know, like, I know, I want to talk to you about men's group and what you guys are doing. But it's so tough in this society, still. And that's sort of why I think we're both doing what we're doing. Yes, giving them permission to be like, No, dude, you got to talk about it. Like it's normal. It's not, like manly or womanly to have emotions. It's like It's human. And so what are you gonna do with them? And it's so so true, what you said about like you, if you don't even know what you don't know. Like, it's hard to move forward. And so getting help reading books coming up with these new tools and putting them into practice, like, that's all it is. It's a hard, long journey, like you said, but it takes figuring out what you don't know. Are there any other like books, resources, whatever, that have helped you along your way, either fatherhood or psychological. Just like any ones that you recommend to all the guys that come to you.
Furkhan Dandia 27:38
I mean, there's a ton. I've got like a stack of books here, but I'm just looking at my library of books here. I think there was two that really helped me, one of them was when the past is present by David Rico. And the other one was a Louise Hay book, it's called you can heal your life. Those were those two were significant in my healing process, when past is present, made me realize how when we haven't healed the past, there's tons of transference, right? Whether it's our partners or friends or anyone we have relationships with, we're basically transferring that trauma onto them, or projecting it onto them without even knowing. And we continue to repeat those patterns and behaviors. And somehow, we are clueless as to why the same situations keep reoccurring in our lives. Why do people keep abandoning us? Why do people keep rejecting us? It's because we're inviting that into our life. We're not healing it. So. So yeah, I think that was a huge realization for me on a subconscious level, that I was inviting that into my life, because it was what I was used to. So So yeah, I mean, those are a couple books I read and, and I guess going back to asking for help, the analogy I like to use is, you know, if you've got an issue with your car, you could probably fix the brakes yourself or replace the filters. But if it's a major mechanical issue, you're not going to be able to fix it, you're gonna need help, you're gonna have to take it to a mechanic. And why why is there no stigma around that? Why is that accepted? But for some reason with therapy, or going to talk to someone and feeling better about it is stigmatized.
Curt Storring 29:40
Yeah, that's a great analogy, man. It's like, you put those two things together, you go like, da like, why would I even think that's weird? Yeah. And I've heard it be called like training even like you exercise your body. So why wouldn't you therapy's your brain or your emotions, your heart. There's so many ways to like reframe it. Yeah. make you more comfortable with it. And so pick one and then go if you think you need it, just explore it, I would say, and I'll put those books in the show notes, those are actually two new ones for me. So I'm excited to have a look at those. And I'd like to talk now a little bit about parenting, your philosophy, and how you actually do that intentionally as a single dad, this is not something I have familiarity with. I've had a few guests on to talk about it. But I keep getting asked, What else? How do we do this? What else are other men experiencing? So do you have a general philosophy to parent are there some basic principles that you'd like to live through live by, and then maybe we can get into the sort of single parent aspect after that?
Furkhan Dandia 30:40
Yeah, I think the biggest thing I would like to share, and it's something I keep reminding myself on a continuous basis is children will not listen to what you tell them, they will look to you to see how you're acting. Right. And that's something you and I've talked about too. But, you know, I could tell my son, hey, express your emotions. And be kind, be compassionate, be generous. But if I'm not role modeling for that, for him, I'm only confusing him. And as a man or as a father, the last thing you want to do is create confusion for your child, especially, I don't have a daughter, so I can't really speak to raising girls, but I can only speak to raising a son and, and I know, boys look to their dads, quite a bit for everything. And if I create that confusion, I'm basically telling them the world is confusing, and he loses trust. And that's the biggest thing I like to share is, you know, if you're going to preach something, make sure you're role modeling that for your child. And I know it's hard, you know, as much as I tell my son, you know, be calm, be cool. But you know, occasionally if someone cuts me off, I do get upset. And and the second thing to build on that I would share is if you're have that open communication with your children, at least, you know, growing up, I knew like I wasn't allowed to challenge my parents or call them out. Because that meant I was like asking for trouble. So, so there's times like, I've created this environment with my son where he'll call me out, you know, so if I'm telling him, hey, just be just be a calm person, don't get angry. And I don't role model that he'll point it out. He'll be like, Hey, Dad, I thought you just said, you know, don't get upset, even if people cut you off. And in those moments, I have to keep my ego in check and apologize to him and be like, Yeah, you're right. I messed up, I'm sorry. But next time, I'll be mindful of it. So. So what that shows, at least from my perspective to our children, is that it's okay to make mistakes. But you also have to be able to apologize, and there's no hierarchy, even if you're a parent, doesn't mean you're allowed to get away with things. So and there's no excuses like I don't, I'm very mindful of not using an excuse, like, oh, today I had a bad day. And none of that. It's like, my expectation is for me to show up as my best self. And if I fall short of that, then yes, I need to apologize. And I need to remind myself that I will do better. So So yeah, I think that those are all things I keep in mind and my philosophies when it comes to parenting.
Curt Storring 33:39
Yeah, those are so fundamental. Man. I really like that taking responsibility again, coming back to responsibility of like, oh, yeah, I did say that. And I just screwed up. Yeah. Do you have? I don't know, like a model of repair when you apologize, or is it just like, oh, yeah, no, I, I did this. I said, you know, I was gonna do this. I see how that can be confusing. Apollo, like, I'm sorry. Yeah, it's simple.
Furkhan Dandia 34:04
It is when it doesn't involve him. But when, when it's something that's directly impacted, and whether I had to draw a hard line with him, or it was like something, you know, and again, I'm at the end of the day, I'm still his dad. So there is certain expectations around behavior. So if he's in trouble often like or if he said something or did something that was not appropriate, and I call him out, you'll get upset and, and I'm sure he's upset with himself because he feels like he laid his dad down. So in those moments, repair is like, and I've really struggled with this, and I think that's my anxious attachment style, but for me repairs like okay, well, I'm apologizing. Let's fix it now and let's move on. And I think with our children, we need to be able to treat them In the same way we would treat our partners. So if our partner needs space, and they're communicating it to us, we need to respect that. And with children, it's the same, what you can do is teach them how to communicate that need for space. So with my son, now we have a strategy where we negotiate what the space looks like. So you know, I'll say, Okay, can we talk about it in an hour, he'll say, four hours, and we'll try to agree somewhere in the middle, around two. And typically, he'll start talking to me within an hour, and then we'll start joking around and repair happens. And what I've asked him to do and encouraged him to do is to express to me what it was he was feeling, and why he was upset. And the reason why I explained that to him, I also say, Okay, if you can tell me why you're upset, then I can apologize for it. And then I can know for next time not to say or do something that will upset you in a similar way. So it's basically treating him like an adult. And at the same time, teaching them the tools that I wasn't taught. And I think that will be instrumental as he becomes an adult, I hope at least and that's kind of what I'm aiming for.
Curt Storring 36:16
Man, that reminds me of a story that I shared on a Friday reflections podcast, probably a couple months ago now. But I just told it today on a podcast that will probably go in the next month with John Romano front row dads. And that is like, I had a situation where I blew up my son, like for the first time in probably a year or two, a couple months ago. And then he wasn't ready to come back. And that was like, the first time that we had had that disconnect, because I was like, immediately got into the situation was able to come down like okay, I call him down. Really sorry, I didn't mean to do that. Go back, apologize. I was like, we good. Now. He's like, No, it's like, what? What do you mean, you can decide that and it really threw me for a loop. And like getting to respect him as his own, as John put it on this podcast, sovereign human being. And it's like, yeah, you don't have to, you don't have to make them have all the responsibilities of adulthood, but you can treat them with the same respect you would as a fully grown adult, because they deserve the respect as a human. And I think that's missed a lot of times. That's one thing that I loved about first starting to learn about this parenting style called ride or resources for infant educators. I think it is on Janet Lansbury, his blog, and it was like, Oh, they're just like, fully formed humans who don't have the resources that I do. Like, oh, I'm amazing. I don't have to, like think they're these little like, you know, silly kids who can't get it. And once I started doing what you're talking about, which is just like communicating everything so much better, because then the like, I try to model like nonviolent communication as much as possible. So like, when this happens, I feel whatever, because I'm needing this. Can you please do this now? And it's like, suddenly, if you just talk about what's real, it's way easier to navigate. Right? There's no hidden agendas. There's no like, resentment that builds. And so like, how would you describe your relationship with him now? Is it like on the on the up and up, if you will, or like, what do you want your relationship? Maybe I'll go there. Let's just back up for two seconds. Maybe what is it right now? Because I know he's young. But what do you want out of this relationship? Like? Do you have a parenting goal? That's sort of the question because some people say they want to be good friends, some people say they want to, like make themselves obsolete. What do you think your role as a dad is for him growing up?
Furkhan Dandia 38:33
Well, I think, ideally, if it was in my hands, I would want him to look to me as as a mentor, or a guide. So I don't expect him to come to me, with every problem, or every tough decision he needs to make, ultimately, I think he needs to be independent enough to do make those choices himself. And that's what I'm trying to encourage is make the choices. And, you know, knowing the consequences, and then you kind of accept the consequences. So I try to parent them with that too. Like, I'll give them choices, I'll be like, here's choice A, this is choice B, and these are the consequences with each choice, or the outcomes of each choice. So so give them that freedom. But yeah, ultimately, you know, if he's ever in a bind, or he needs advice, or someone to talk to or express his emotions to I would hope he comes to me as a resource. That's how I hope our relationship is that someone he can trust and confide in and, you know, a sounding board at times when he's making a tough choice in life.
Curt Storring 39:46
Yeah, and that's so interesting to think about, like planning for that now. It's like, oh, what do I do because I need to manage right now because I'm uncomfortable or I'm triggered or he's doing something I don't like, but like, how is what I do now? Gonna impact him? 15 Two years from now, I want him to come to me. And that is so hard man. Like I feel I see in the dads that we work with in the men's groups, like there's a lot of burden, like a huge burden that men hold, trying to like, Oh, what do I do here? Do you have any extra thoughts on that before we jump in? Yeah, you? Okay. Yeah,
Furkhan Dandia 40:20
I think I think for people that are listening, again, I'm just figuring this out myself. But two things I try to be mindful of is showing them you're human too. I think for me, my parents. And that's the only experience I can talk about as a child was my parents tried to put on this image that they were they knew everything, or they had all the right answers. And I think that's misleading. And that's tough growing up as a child, because you're a afraid to disappoint. And then you carry this pressure if you fall short of their expectations. So I think, yeah, so one of the things I tried to role model for my son is, we're human, we're gonna make mistakes, and I make mistakes, and I learned from them. So you know, please give me feedback as well. And I encourage that for my son. And, and the other piece, other than showing that you're human is, is showing them like how to communicate, you know, and, and not. And like I said earlier, building that trust, trust is so important. And if you if they come to you with a difficult truth about you, like if my son comes and tells me something very difficult for me to hear. I'm going to betray his trust by getting upset with him. And, and trust is probably the other thing I would say for people to focus on as a parent.
Curt Storring 41:51
Yeah. Oh, dude, that's such a good point, betraying the trust by getting angry. And then it's like, oh, not safe. Can't bring it to dad anymore. Yeah, that's sorry. Until
Furkhan Dandia 42:00
Yeah, and it doesn't have to be anger. Some people react with sadness, or disappointment, or whatever it is. I think just being mindful of that, like if he, for me, it's it's a different situation, right? Like if my, like I said earlier, if my son's like, Hey, I don't want to do this with you, I want to do if my mom, if I get angry or upset, I'm betraying his stress. So now he's going to learn how to become a people pleaser. And that's not something you want to do either.
Curt Storring 42:31
Yeah, no, that's a great point. Man, I really do want to talk about like navigating single fatherhood. What intentions did you place like, what kind of dialogue do you have with his mother? How do you even decide what it looks like? You know, like, I don't have this experience. My parents divorced when I was three. So I have the product, I have the experience of being a child in the situation. And it was, in my experience, and in my perception was handled very poorly. Yeah, nobody ever talked about it. It was swept under the rug, everyone was angry and miserable all the time. I was like, Oh, this is pretty normal. And it turned out that it wasn't. But how do you make that transition? Okay for him, while like opening him up to feeling all the sort of maybe abandonment or neglect or whatever sadness that he might feel? How do you navigate those two things?
Furkhan Dandia 43:20
Well, I think everything I've talked about up to this point, it's encouraging communication, building trust, giving them safety, showing that it's okay to make mistakes. I think all those things I'm hoping would lay the foundation for when he becomes an adult. I'm sure he's gonna have a lot of questions. He's only eight right now. But as he gets older, he's gonna have a lot of questions about well, why did you leave mom? Or why did you guys break up? And like, Why did I have to live like this and all kinds of stuff. And ideally, I would love for him to come to me with those questions rather than make assumptions and have resentment towards me or his mom or, or just life in general, just not mean angry person or someone that's sad about whatever happened in their childhood, but be able to talk about it. And I think, through the communication lines, I maintained with him and and, you know, the trust I've built, I'm hoping that he can, he can open up and talk to me about it. I've also, you know, normalize therapy with him, too. I talk about it all the time. I tell him I go see a therapist. So again, he's aware that it's, it's something that's okay. My dad does it. So hopefully when he needs it, he's more open about it. In that sense, and then the other thing I tried to do, which was a great learning experience for me, too, is a few years ago, I tried to teach him grounding exercises and breathing techniques, especially when he'd get like in it if he if he had to leave home or go back home or whatever. And then recently, he told me that at school, they were learning how to manage stress. And his teacher told that which I think it's great that kids are learning that. But his teacher went through all the different ways of managing stress. And he told me how his teachers shared the grounding techniques I taught him and the breathing exercises. So I asked them what which one works for you. He's like, what drawing works for me. And that was like, a huge surprise for me. Because, again, it was a humbling moment, because I was forcing something on him that I have read that works and has worked for me. But I never really asked him if that worked for him. I just assumed it would, because that's what research says. And until he didn't tell me that, you know, he likes to draw when he's stressed out. I was like, Oh, wow, that's and that's part of the learning journey of you know, and I didn't feel guilty about it, something I would have probably felt in the past that Oh, shit, I made a mistake, and I force something on him. But it was a cool like, just to see that, you know, he figured it out. And he was sharing it with me. And the last thing I can do is not give them safety, but more so nurture that. So I offered to go buy him a drawing pad if he ever wanted to draw. So things like that, I think are important. And and I think we also need to be present, and mindful of what our children are telling us and listen for those cues. Because they'll gave us a lot of information on how to parent them, we just need to be paying attention.
Curt Storring 46:47
Dude, that has to be the clip that I pulled for this episode, because like a spot on. It's so especially when you're doing this kind of work, right? Like you read so much, you know what works for you. And you're like, oh, applied your kids, like good, they're gonna be fixed, they're gonna be great, they're gonna be grounded. And they're just like, Oh, it doesn't really mean it doesn't work. And we have the same sort of thing, right? Like, we do breathing, we do gratitude. We do all this kind of stuff. And I've toyed around with like introducing meditation, but I don't want to force it on them. And it turns out that our middle son, like he really he fidgets a lot. He likes to move around. Sometimes he makes a lot of noise. And rather than like, Hey, can you sit still and breathe? We learned that in their schools. They have like mini trampolines. And when the kid needs to regulate, which is like, again, amazing that they're talking about this in school, like green zone, yellow zone, red zone. Yeah, we regulate. And they just jump on the trampoline. And he's that he's cool after like, five or 10 minutes. And so we're like, Oh, sick, like he doesn't need to stop. He needs to do more to get it out. And then he feels better. So we just got a trampoline for him. And it's so good. Now all the kids take like five or 10 minutes breaks, even a baby like two years old. He's going to do that now. And it's so sweet. Just to find that out and to be humble enough, like you are to be like, oh, yeah, like this is real for him. And then just listen. Yeah, I love hearing what you said before, which is like, notice how you felt when your parents did certain things. And then notice how your kids feel. So it goes back. And I say this all the time, like to awareness, and to just noticing and to feeling into the moment. What is true right now and like, what else can I pick up? Man? That was really good. Thank you for sharing that.
Furkhan Dandia 48:22
Yeah, no, absolutely. You're welcome. And I think it's being intentional. You know, a few years ago, I probably would have dismissed what he said and just been like, Well, no, you just need to breathe. Like that's what research totally man. And, and I think it's recognizing that, you know, it's like, again, being in adult relationships, even with our partners, not everything works for them, that would work for us, or vice versa, right. So it's having that, as we've discussed, like treating them like adults, treating the children like adults and listening for the cues. And and I think that trust, it comes back to trust. Like if I hadn't paid attention to what he said, or just dismissed it or ignored it, or I wasn't present, not listening. He would have been disappointed. He would have been like, well, I just shared this huge piece of information with my dad and my dad did absolutely nothing with it.
Curt Storring 49:18
Yeah, absolutely. Man. Do you have any last thoughts on single parenting? You know, parenting through divorce any of this before we move on? Because I want to know, like, what you're doing now, men's group, what's real for you? Do you want to you know, is there any thought any idea that you want to close this off with or should we move on? Yeah,
Furkhan Dandia 49:35
I mean, the only thing I would share is like for people that are going through divorce or divorce men or women like our children are resilient. So I think a lot of people struggle with breaking the family apart, because they're thinking of their children. And I struggled with that too. And, and this may sound selfish, but I think if you're not your best self if you You're not happy if you're, you know, if you can't give your best self to your children, you're doing them a disservice. And that's the only thing I could share. And that was kind of what helped me knowing that, you know, if I was on my deathbed, what would be the one regret I would have? And the one thing that kept coming back to me was the fact that my son never really got to meet the real me, that would be my biggest regret. And yeah, he may be like, Oh, thanks, Dad for keeping the family together. But did I really do them? a disservice by depriving them of the real me. And that was like, the biggest conversation I had with myself and and that helped me make that decision.
Curt Storring 50:48
Man, thank you for sharing that that's so nuanced, and not something that I would have you been known to ask? Right, like, so yeah, I've just appreciative of your skill, doing this on the other side of the mic, as well. And just knowing what to drop in there. So that's really good as well. Appreciate that. And I do want to talk about like what you're doing now, I know you're doing is it local men's groups you're doing online? What does that look like?
Furkhan Dandia 51:12
So I was very deliberate. So during COVID, I attended a bunch of online men's groups, sessions, and I found them to be really powerful. The one thing I felt that was missing was the the impact in person, men's group could have just attending other group sessions in the past in person, or even just in therapy, I had to do a couple of sessions over zoom. And I had the baseline of going in person. So I knew the impact of stuff like this in person. So I connected with someone I became really good friends with over the past year, and I pitched the idea of starting a men's group here. So So my friend Kirk and I, we are co facilitate co facilitating a men's group here in person in Calgary. And I mean, it's been amazing. Like, we, we typically get anywhere between five to eight guys show up. And, you know, every week they what we do it every two weeks, but anytime they show up, they're like, we were looking forward to this, this is amazing. And just seeing the value we're able to deliver to these these men has been amazing. It's it's been so rewarding, just knowing that it is making a difference. And, you know, often people get caught up in the numbers. And you may say, Oh, well, I'm helping one or two people. But if it's not like that, that impact multiplies. You think about them feeling better, than they're able to go home and be better partners, to their spouses, they're able to be better fathers to their children. And you immediately see how that impact gets multiplied.
Curt Storring 53:00
Yeah, man, that's so good. I, my, my dream is that as we grow the Dad.Work community, I mean, we've got two online men's groups, there are a couple of guys in the same city, who I'm very excited to get like the first in person dad work meetup going. But as we grow, like my goal, my dream is to have local chapters, because I know how powerful that local experiences. And again, like so grateful for zoom, I was surprised at the sort of poignancy of the Zoom men's group, but I totally feel you on like, there's just that extra layer in person. And why did you want to do this? Like, were you in men's groups before? Or like what was the thing that brought this to fruition?
Furkhan Dandia 53:45
Um, I think it's part of the work I'm doing even with the the men's coaching is, it all comes back to going through my own experience of feeling everything feeling isolated when I was going through a divorce and recognizing that there's men who are struggling, there are men who are struggling in similar ways, whether it's with divorce, whether it's with their jobs, or family issues, whatever it is, there's a lot of men out there who are probably keeping it together or wearing their mask, and don't have a forum to be able to go even just have a conversation. And that was kind of the the motivation behind is like, if we can create this men's group, there's guys are going to come and feel safe to be able to talk about stuff, especially the ones that are looking for something and just don't know where to find it. And right now, we've just been able to get people come in through word of mouth, but even that word of mouth is multiplying. You know, because those guys are sharing it with their friends and family members. So it's been great in that sense, but that was kind of the the the motivation behind it is how can we help other men and give them a forum where they can can come in feel heard. And I think part of it is like, myself included, like I play sports, and you know, even with family, but there's a lot of things that men can't talk about with their, with their spouse, especially if the challenges they're facing are common. Or there's things that they just can't talk to their spouses about in general, or things they won't share in a hockey locker room like, so how do you create that forum for men where they can feel safe, because they know everyone's there for the same reason? There's no hidden agenda. And often it takes one person to be vulnerable, and then everyone else feels comfortable opening up.
Curt Storring 55:44
Yeah, that invitation and giving them in the space. And then it's like, What do you mean, I'm allowed to share like this, and then they just go, ah, like this relief. And like, I don't know about your experience. But I have heard, like, 30 year old wounds, be shared and grieved and healed inside men's groups. And like some of the most like, the amount of times tears have come to my eyes just listening to another man's story. Like countless. And it is so so powerful to do this work with other men. And one of the things I have you connected with Jason Henderson and Boulder, man.
Furkhan Dandia 56:22
Oh, no. I mean, we kind of like interact on Instagram, but I haven't connected with him yet. Yeah,
Curt Storring 56:29
yeah, you guys would probably get along. He was on this podcast a while ago. And he's like, when you think about it all wounds stem from relationship. So it makes sense that they're all healed in relationship. And I was like, Oh, dude, that's exactly what we do in men's group. Yeah, get the space to be reflected. You get heard you're supported. Sometimes you're challenged. Man. I just I love him. I'm so glad to do.
Furkhan Dandia 56:52
Yeah, yeah. No, that's, that is cool. I didn't really think of it that way. So it's good to kind of get that perspective. Yeah, I mean, like with these men's group, you know, like, Kirk and I initially brainstormed a list of topics we would we were like, Okay, well, what are the topics we're going to talk about? So we brainstormed a whole list? And we're like, yeah, every week, we can like, pick a topic. And you know, we've done probably five or six sessions at this point. And we haven't had to look at that list. Because when we go around the room, do our check in like, there's something someone is either feeling, or there's a burning desire to share. And, you know, we just go around the room and have these open conversations and share our experiences and thoughts. And it's been amazing. Because, you know, there's something someone wants to talk about or get perspective on. And quite often, if what I find is like, with the men that are struggling with something, or they need help, they're often able to come to the conclusion themselves, just by talking it out. Which is powerful. Yeah.
Curt Storring 58:01
Yeah. And there's, um, there's a line in this book, I think it's called the prosperous coach by rich Litvin, and I can't remember the other guy's name. But he basically said about coaches are like, facilitators like that, you could basically be like a lamppost. And the man speaking would get 80% of the value simply because he did have permission to speak. And it's like, that is so important to remember to not over process and men's groups. And I know a lot of guys in our groups are like, oh, I want to do the processes. I want to go deep. And then it's like, oh, the whole meeting is open chairs, like, okay, great. That's actually more powerful. And so like, just just listening, if you're listening to this, you have no outlet. Find a local men's group, like, join one of ours find for cans, find mine, like find, just invite your friends. Like it's a little bit vulnerable, putting yourself out there a little bit risky, to be honest, because some guys are not going to be okay with that. But just be like, Hey, man, like what's actually real for you? I'm feeling a little bit off right now. Can we talk about that, like, see somewhere in your life where you can actually have relationship like that, because it is so powerful, and so healing, and it's probably the single biggest thing in my life that took me from, like, continuing to make the same mistakes over and over to finally letting everything integrate, and actually settle in me. So yeah, yeah, join a men's group, guys.
Furkhan Dandia 59:16
Yeah, and I mean, just to add to that, I think there's tons of power and just listening to and I think that's one of the areas men typically struggle with is listening. Quite often our tendency is to fix it, or provide a solution. And majority of the time, I think people just want to be heard or validated. They, they're not looking for a solution. I think people in general are very wise and smart, and they probably know what they need to do, but they just want to be heard and validated. And I feel like as a man, we try to, like, oh, yeah, you came with a problem here. I'll try to fix it for you. And that's not helpful and for me doing the podcast and just going to these men's group sessions, like it's been amazing. Like it's improved my listening skills quite a bit. So it's, it's been amazing because when you're sitting there, you pick up on the subtle cues once you start improving on your listening.
Curt Storring 1:00:16
Absolutely, we talk about that a lot. It's like, okay, guys gonna share now you don't get to just check out, like you get to listen. And that actually is exactly what you do in partnership. That's exactly what you do to kids, don't fix it. Just affirm and validate and empathize, like, and that's most of it, typically, unless they ask for your help, and like, feel free to give it but exactly, so overlooked. I know, we only have a couple minutes left, but I'm interested to know if you've got any energy whatsoever on doing this inner work with with a job like you, you've got a so called normal job, right? I think you're an engineer is what you said. And I've had a guy asked me, okay, you've got a lot of like entrepreneurial types on the podcast. What about guys like me who've just got a job? And like, I can't be doing this all day long? Do you have any, like insights or tips about that in the last minute or two, I don't know if anything comes up. But it's just a curiosity of mine.
Furkhan Dandia 1:01:10
I think the way I look at it is for me to be the best at anything I do, I need to do this healing. And whether it's going to a men's group session, or doing my own healing individually, going for therapy, it's like when I'll use another analogy, if you're, if you're an athlete, you're spending less time playing the game than you are practicing, and improving your skills. And these are skills we all need to improve our emotional regulation, our ability to listen, our ability to express ourselves, like these are all skills, we need to improve. Because our we're not athletes playing the sport, but we're men that are either fathers or partners or employees, we need these skills. And the best way to practice them is going out and doing these things. And that's how I look at it. And I find it like it energizes me when I leave a session out with through the men's group or, or I go for therapy, or if I just sit and read a book, or I help other men like for me, purpose is huge. And the way I look at my purpose is to be able to give back and giving back in the sense of just helping other men navigate these challenges in life.
Curt Storring 1:02:31
Yeah, it just sounds like intentionally putting the work in and finding ways to do that. And like not making excuses just because you've got a so called normal job. It's like it might be harder to fit in sometimes. But like what's really important, this is your life. At least that's how I look at it. Like what could be more important than healing your own self feeling better day in day out being a better dad being a better partner being a better like at your job or your business? Like, yeah, why would that not be your number one priority? So alright, man, I wondered if there's something there. But it's just like, just do the work, guys. Like whatever your situation is, make it make it work for you?
Furkhan Dandia 1:03:08
Well, I think if you make it work for you, not only are you happier and more content with yourself, you're also giving that gift to everyone around you. So that's how you need to think about it.
Curt Storring 1:03:21
Absolutely, man, this has been a ton of fun. I'm glad that we got to connect. And I'm glad that worked this time and nobody cute. We're doing this. Where can people find more about you? And what exactly can people do when they do find you?
Furkhan Dandia 1:03:36
Um, yeah, I mean, I'm on Instagram. That's how you and I connected. So my handle on Instagram is you know, ESN it's EU and Oh, IAZEN. Yeah, so just DM me on Instagram. And I typically response so yeah, that's probably the best way of getting a hold of me or my website, you know, is then.com.
Curt Storring 1:03:58
Sweet. Okay, we'll put those in the show notes. And do you do coaching as well?
Furkhan Dandia 1:04:02
Yeah, yeah, I offer one on one coaching. I do free consultations, typically to see if there's going to be a fit. But yeah, definitely like to support men and help them through their journey.
Curt Storring 1:04:14
Amazing, man, thank you so much for being here. We'll put all that in the show notes at Dad.Work/Pod. And man, I just look forward to continuing to walk on this journey with you and we'll just stay connected and see what happens.
Furkhan Dandia 1:04:25
Yeah, I appreciate it. I love the work you're doing and thanks for having me on.
Curt Storring 1:04:29
that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL dad.work/pod you'll find everything there you need to become a better man a better partner and a better father Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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