Wednesday, June 11, 2008


To all you Dads out there – Happy Father’s Day! More than any other leadership role I’ve had – being a Dad is by far the best leadership opportunity I’ve ever had - and for that matter, the most important one. Yes, even more important than leading SEALs safely and successfully into harm’s way. SEAL missions are finite – every mission has a start and stop to it – but the mission of raising children is a lifelong mission and by far the most important tasker any of us could undertake, for these little minds get their bearings, their values and their moral compass directly from us. And if we Dads lead our mission correctly, our children will keep coming back to us over the rest of our lives as a resource for inspiration and encouragement, for guidance and advice, and everything in between…and if the mission goes really well, they’ll never stop giving us that wonderful hug and saying the words that make every Dad’s heart skip a beat: “I love you Dad.”

Now, I don’t know everything about being a Dad, in fact everyday I learn more about what I don’t know, because every day is different with these monkeys – which reminds me a whole helluva lot of SEAL Team. In SEAL Team, we train for 167 different types of missions – at least that was the count when I was in – I’m sure it’s even higher today. Much like waking up every morning or several times during the night – you don’t know what’s in store for you as a Dad or a SEAL Team platoon commander, and because in SEAL Team you don’t know what’s going to happen next, you and your teammates create a mindset that keeps you flexible and ready for anything – we call it: STRAC = Skilled Tough Ready Around the Clock. This mindset keeps you focused on continual improvement – just like the Japanese with their Kaizen philosophy – STRAC is all about improving your skills and never quenching that thirst to better yourself a little everyday.

One of the key elements of STRAC is keeping your body fit – after all what good is the best weapon system if you’re not strong enough to carry it to the objective?! Same goes for all us Dads – the health and functionality of our bodies is a critical component to the success of our mission as a Dad. Seriously – think about it – our kids will look to us as their first reference point on everything from how we talk to what we eat to our mannerisms, even how we stand or sit in a chair – their little minds are 24/7 computers with a video interface – they are constantly recording and computing what they’ve recorded on their little hard drive minds. These little monkeys are learning their first Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) from us (and of course Mom). A very important SOP to establish with them is exercising their body – from camping to swimming to biking to climbing on jungle gyms – our troops will be looking to us for SOPs on how to care for our bodies – DON’T DISAPPOINT THEM – set this SOP early in their lives and I promise you they (and you!) will get more out of life – trust me when I tell you it’s a whole bunch more memorable for them and you if you make up your own Discovery Channel adventure versus watching the Discovery Channel!

The other important element about the STRAC mindset for Dads: “Life as a Dad is already challenging enough, but it’s a whole lot tougher if you’re weak!”

To all you Mission Commanders out there – enjoy your mission – it’s the best mission you’ll ever lead - Happy Father’s Day!


1 comment:

Lisa A said...

Alden Happy Father's day :) Awesome post, lucky children you have! I wish I would have known about S-T-R-A-C when my son was a new born, I swear it's pure joy when they finally sleep through the night. But hey, he's a teenager now, and I have to keep up with him. So, it's never too late to get strong, and stay strong. Our Perfect Pullup came and we can't wait to get started using it. I'll keep you posted on our progress.