King of the mountain!

My boys wrestlingI remember when many of my dad’s friends would come over, or we’d meet them at a BBQ, or other event, and I’d cherish the moments that they’d square off and attack.

Many of these men didn’t have boys of their own, or if they did their boys were still too young to be pounced upon. Often times these full grown men would wrestle and fight with me right up to the limit of my ability to withstand them. Sometimes it would end with me upset or even on the edge of angry at them. Why? Because they were testing me. Challenging me to see how I might handle the loss.

It was great!

As a youth, I loved getting the attention and the opportunity to try out my own blossoming fighting skills.

Look, I believe that men are created to be strong, and defend those who need defending. This first and foremost means being willing and able to protect their wife and children. An important part of this is fathers taking the deliberate time to raise their boys to understand the delicate, but important balance between them becoming tough and yet compassionate and gentle. That’s easily done, if us fathers commit to constantly engaging our boys with loving, but rough play. Teach them to roughhouse fairly, and to assume a commonly accepted set of rules. Stuff like, don’t hit below the belt, etc.

When you do this, you’re not only teaching your boys but you’re bonding with them. Bonding with your boys is hard enough for some dads. So why not take every opportunity you can?

In a recent article in the NY Times, Lisa Belkin interviews the authors of an interesting new book, “The Art of Roughhousing“.

 “We believe that real safety comes from knowledge, not from rules and saying “No!” all the time.”

This promising book offers not only support for roughhousing with your kids, but instructs us dads in actual moves to be used, when bringing the beat down! Moves like the Underdog, the Sumo Dead Lift, Spanish Steps, and the oddly named Sasuke. YES! I think I’m ordering it now.

Along with this encouraging book that helps equip us dads for rowdy playtime I want to challenge us all. You see, if heading out to the backyard gets you winded, before you even toss a single kid, you’ve got a problem. We must be in decent health! How can we inspire our kids to healthy balanced living, if we’re toting around a spare tire accompanied by wheezing like a asthmatic each time we attempt the Sumo Dead Lift?

Get out for a walk. Get some running shoes and jog around the block. Do something, for crying out loud!

With that pontification, head out there and take a walk then body slam your kid!

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