Fatherly Advice From Navy SEALS, Black Hawk Pilots And Other U.S Military Veterans

Their hide-and-seek game is a step above yours (no offense).

by Aaminah Khan
Originally Published: 
everything you need to know

Military service can teach a man a lot, and not just about courage, honor, and loyalty, but about the finer points of fatherhood — like how to dominate at hide-and-seek or why swim floaties are bunk. This collection represents some of the greatest wisdom military veterans have bestowed upon you via us, on topics like failure, resilience, empowerment, and yes, why swim floaties are bunk. These guys have gone on to lead nonprofits, write bestsellers, and invent that fitness system you bought in January, but most importantly they’ve bestowed the lessons they’ve learned upon their own kids. If you’d rather figure it out for yourself than listen to them, that’s cool, but you’d better thank them anyway. Because their sacrifice gives you the freedom to screw up your kid any way you choose.

On Why Failure Is A Gift

“In failure, children learn how to struggle with adversity and how to confront fear. By reflecting on failure, children begin to see how to correct themselves and then try again with better results. A culture that rewards failure with trophies steals from children the great treasure chest of wisdom that comes from pain, from difficulty, from falling short.”— Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, Rhodes Scholar, And Bestselling Author

On Why Fathers Should Teach Their Girls To Punch

“Never let anyone tell you what a woman can and cannot do. And should someone make fun of how little girls hit, offer to teach them. Smile politely, square your stance, and give fair warning. Then knock the effing wind out of them. Because that is how a girl should punch.”— Ken Harbaugh, Navy Pilot And COO Of Team Rubicon

On Raising Hikers

“It’s not always about getting to the top. It can be a nature walk finding bugs. Make it interesting. Stop a couple of times to have snacks. Have it be a fun time. Distract the kids to make it to the top.”— Brian Dickinson, Navy Rescue Swimmer, Combat Search-And-Rescue, Mountaineer

On Teaching Kids To Swim Safely (Which Means No Floaties)

“It gives kids a false understanding of physics. When a kid without floaties jumps into a pool as if he has them, he just sinks and doesn’t understand why. I see that all the time.”— Judson Kauffman, Navy SEAL and Co-Founder Of ExBellum

On Dessert As A Metaphor For Empathy

“What I took away from that is the magnitude of challenges some kids in this world face. I also realized how important it is to ensure my son knows how fortunate he is. Life shouldn’t be about making his piece of the pie bigger but making sure the pie itself is bigger and more people are able to come to the party to have some of the pie.”— Spencer Kympton, Blackhawk Pilot, Founder Of The Mission Continues

On Priorities

“[Fatherhood] can be an opportunity to re-prioritize and create a new routine. Replace the 30 minutes of happy hour time with 10 minutes of suspension training or other exercise, and you’ll be better for it.You can’t do happy hour anymore, anyway.” — Randy Hetrick, Navy SEAL And Founder Of TRX

On Empowerment

“You have to be the advocate for your child. You can’t rely on other people to make things happen. If there’s something you want your child to do and the technology isn’t readily available, go after it. Think outside the box and make it happen. You have to be the person who enables your child to live a normal life.”— Ryan Nelson, Army Pilot And Fatherly Fund Winner

On Winning Hide-And-Seek

“When someone closes their eyes to start counting, their sense of hearing naturally elevates. Your kid should confuse them by loudly heading in one direction and then silently doubling back before they finish the countdown.”— Nick Hays, Navy SEAL And Hide And Seek Master

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