Pioneers and Settlers

If you think about those words, Pioneer and Settler, the distinction comes into focus. Far from being synonyms, they are opposites. Pioneer is one who “helps open up a new line of thought or activity,” according to Merriam-Webster. Settler on the other hand is “one who settles.”

Think about which one you are. Are you exploring? Are you pursuing? Are you venturing into new territory even though it’s a little scary and there are no promises of a matching 401k? Or have you settled in a place that is slowly sucking the life out of you?

In The Last Arrow, Erwin McManus asks an essential question, “If you are not where you want to be, why do you keep choosing to stay where you are?”

Many men settle after they retire or achieve an easy job that provides financial security. But this is the very best time to pioneer! (You can even be a weekend pioneer!) Imagine the impact retired men could make in the world if they pioneered into helping orphans, widows, and homeless, instead of settling for the golf course.  

Point your compass towards a cause that you’re passionate about; it’s never too late to become a Pioneer!

One Degree Off

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When you’re flying it doesn’t take much to end up way off course. Just being off your heading by one degree over a long enough period of time will put you miles away from your destination. For every sixty miles that you fly - when you’re off by just one degree - will equal being one mile off course. In aviation that’s called the 60-to-1-rule.

The same is true in life. Being off course a little each day, over the course of several years will put you miles away from being the man you wanted to become. Overeating and skipping workouts might seem only slightly off course, but that behavior over years will take you far away from the man you want to be. Looking at porn might seem like being only one degree off heading, but that behavior over the long-term will transport you farther off course than you realize.

You don’t have to make a colossal turn in the complete wrong direction to ruin your life; it’s those small everyday choices that can destroy us. Stay on course with the small things, and become the man you want to be - one degree at a time.

Dads and Daughters

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We men love being fathers to our little girls. We love how they look up to us, and see us as the hero who kills spiders and opens the peanut butter. As long as they are little and cute we’re on top of our dad game. But the idea of that little girl hitting puberty terrifies most men. Will things get weird? Will she even want us around anymore? Will we still hug?

One of the finest books on this subject is Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, by Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician and counselor. This book helped prepare me for my role as my little girl gets older.

The biggest thing I learned was how incredibly significant a dad is in the life of a girl. We’re so essential to her self-esteem, mental health, and well-being that it cannot be overstated. She learns her value from us, and forms her opinion of men and the world in general from how we treat her. 

Don’t believe the sitcoms that portray dads as irrelevant. Lean into your role, and keep hugging her when she’s 16 the same way you did when she was 6!