376: Craig Wilkenson | Masculinity and What it Means to be a Good Dad


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You can be a good dad even if you grew up without one.

"You don't have to play the man to be the man, you are the man." -Craig Wilkinson

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Even if you aren't a dad and don't plan to become one, fatherhood and masculinity are incredibly important subjects. Why? Our guest for today's episode says UNICEF has reported absentee fathers are the single biggest issue of our time.

Craig Wilkinson is the author of Dad and was a single father of two for many years. On today's show we talk about why fatherhood is so important to our understanding of what it means to be a man, and what we all can do as men to help raise young men into healthy adulthood. All of that and more on this edition of The Art of Charm.

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Craig Wilkinson is the proud father of two, and fully admits to learning how to be a good dad along the way. The first moment he consciously took a look at his role as a father was after his young daughter had heart surgery. He requested to be in the operating room as she was given anesthesia and to be there when she awoke after surgery, his request was granted.

Not long after he overheard his daughter talking to someone about her surgery and she told them her heart had been broken but her dad fixed it. He was struck by the power and magnitude of her perception and her experience. He wondered if he could really live up to her words, and then made a commitment to be that father to her and to his son.

Although it hasn't all been sunshine and roses, Craig has figured out a lot along the way and we dive into much of his discoveries on today's show. We discuss what three things really drive a man, the biggest lies we're told about what it means to be a man and he shares his dadverbs advice we can all take to heart.

According to Craig the three things that drive a man are a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to pursue. But if a man isn't given validation growing up he will become passive and opt to seek these drives through video games, porn or shallow relationships, or he may become an overly-aggressive and dominant alpha male or he may simply pose and pretend to be someone he's not in order to impress others.

If men aren't given proper validation from an older male role model they will also grow up believing in the lies society tells us are true. The top lies told about how masculinity is defined are: how much power you have, how much money you have and how many women you sleep with.

To help males grow into their healthy masculinity Craig suggests using what he calls "dadverbs", or dad-related adverbs. We touch on a few in this episode including to see and to bliss. To see is when a male role model sees a younger man as separate from himself, having his own passions and interests that may or may not be in alignment with the role model's interests. The masculine role model provides this by being engaged, talking, and spending time with the younger man.

The other dadverb is to bliss, which is when older men validate younger men for who they are, what they are passionate and curious about. Doing so allows the younger men to feel they are strong enough and good enough to follow their own path.

Craig provides much more insight on this fascinating topic, tune in to hear the full scope of his wisdom! Then join me in thanking him for being here. And thank you for joining us, we'll see you next time on The Art of Charm.


If you enjoyed this session of The Art of Charm Podcast, let Craig know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Craig on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

Craig Wilkinson's web siteDad, by Craig Wilkinson Craig on TwitterThe Art of Charm bootcamps

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