I hope you’re enjoying the Olympics like I am. This year, I’m especially jazzed to watch two competitors—two men who are dedicated dads, and who answered some questions for us about their fathering.
(A third athlete, 2008 gold-medal-winning decathlete Bryan Clay, also participated, but unfortunately Bryan didn’t qualify this year after tripping up on the hurdle event during the Olympic qualifying meet. Stay tuned for more from Bryan next week.)
One Olympic dad is Kendrick Farris, father of one son and weightlifter for Team USA. (I believe he is competing Friday!) He says that being a dad is still a bit “surreal,” and his son Khalil is always telling him, “Daddy, you’re strong—like me!”
Here’s Kendrick’s advice for any man who’s about to become a father: “Understand that your lifestyle will be the example for your child. Make sure you are a good example and everything will come naturally … you hope!”
We also received insights from Hunter Kemper, dad of three sons ages 5 years down to 8 months, who is representing the U.S. in the triathlon (scheduled to race on August 7).
His favorite moments with his kids include this regular routine when they’re playing in the house. “I always say, ‘Daddy’s coming! I’m going to getcha!’ Davis and Hudson giggle and run away and hide. Case just smiles at Daddy and gives me kisses. Oh wait, maybe I give him kisses.” Five-year-old Davis says, “Daddy is my best buddy and he plays baseball with me.”
Hunter describes his parenting philosophy like this: “God is the foundation of our home, and as parents we always strive to put Him first. Being a dad to me means that I will protect my kids, pray with them and pray for them, teach them, play with them, laugh with them, discipline them, and unconditionally love them.”
Clearly, these guys have a healthy playful side, but they also take their fatherly role very seriously. And like I pointed out in my blog a few weeks ago, what really strikes me about these guys is that their experiences as fathers aren’t that different from ours. They have the same joys with their kids and go through very similar challenges to what the rest of us are facing.
I hope you’re inspired by these dads’ commitment like I am, and I want to encourage you today. Keep doing your best to love your children, know them, guide them, and help them achieve their destiny. Maybe you’ll never be an Olympic athlete, but you can still live out the fundamentals of Championship Fathering by loving, coaching and modeling for your kids, encouraging other kids who don’t have a dad, and enlisting other men to join the team.
Action Points to help you be a good dad:
- Choose one or two of the activities suggested by Kendrick and Hunter, and carry it out with your kids. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page letting us (and other dads) know.
- Ask your child one skill that he or she would like to improve in, and set up a routine to help him or her in that area.
- Enjoy the Olympics with your family. Or, if you can’t be with your kids, maybe the games can be a point of connection with them when you call, text or email.
- Find out what your children’s favorite Olympic events are and follow those competitions with them. Ask them what they think or what they’re looking forward to seeing. Here’s a calendar of the various events.
- Please send us great fathering stories you come across during the Olympics. We’ll pass them along here or on our Facebook page.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.