Don't Get Too Comfy

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When it comes to comfort, we’re the cushiest humans in history. Never mind our entertaining tech toys, how about air conditioned houses – no splitting wood all summer. Or hot water heaters – no boiling water over the fire for a warm bath. Electric lights, washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves, and indoor toilets! We achieve in seconds what the Pilgrims labored for hours to accomplish. 

Now that we can just sit at desks all day and have food delivered to us by tapping on our phones we must be the most joyous people in all of human history, right? Not even close.

We’re depressed, lonely, addicted, and complaining. It turns out that the rigorous, hand-callousing toil of our great-grandfathers actually made them happy. And it brought them together as a community - as a tribe. The La-Z-Boy life is incapable of producing the chemicals our brains need to feel true joy.

Don’t you love that feeling of exhausted accomplishment after a day spent working outside? It’s surprising how good we feel. When we pursue comfort, happiness will elude us. When we do good, hard work outside with our hands and our backs, happiness has a way of showing up unannounced.

Bailing Out

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The jets that I've navigated in the Air Force didn’t have parachutes. This led to a mindset of fixing any problem. If we had an emergency, we got busy trouble shooting. When bailing out isn’t an option, you do everything you can to fix a problem.

Some men approach marriage with an “ejection seat mentality.” If the marriage goes south they give fixing it a cursory try, but if it’s too much trouble then they’re bailing out. They think they can eject and walk away unharmed.  

Truthfully, bailing out of an airplane is a traumatic event. Vertebrae get crushed, teeth shattered, and the air flow alone can collapse lungs. Ejection seats save lives, but oftentimes just barely. Those who bailout might never be the same. It’s a last resort when not doing so would mean certain death.  

Bailing out on your marriage is no different. It should only be considered when staying in the marriage might kill you. Bailing out will traumatize you (and your kids) and leave you with permanent scars. It’s not a quick-fix to be taken lightly.

Stick with your marriage like you’re flying without a ‘chute. Develop a mindset of fixing any problem, big or small. Don’t bail out. 

Bring the Kids

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Great men look for ways to include their kids in their hobbies. Life isn’t about you anymore. The day your first kid was born you went from leading role to supporting actor.

I love the shooting range, boxing, soccer, biking, trail running, kayaking, backpacking, fly fishing, and deer hunting. But if I tried to pursue all those hobbies by myself my kids would forget what I looked like. If I take my kids along and teach them these things, they become bonding activities that unite instead of selfish hobbies that divide.

 There’s nothing wrong with going for a jog by yourself. In fact, it’s important to have that alone time. But it’s also important to take them along more often.

It might not be easy having the kids in tow, but the benefits are worth the effort, and it does take work to make great memories.

When you include your kids in what you do, you’re showing them that they matter, they’re worthy, they are important to you. Plus, it teaches them new things, and over the long run cultivates in them a love for what you love, too.