For this post I’d like to discuss the original intention of the Functional Dad concept and how this correlates with the philosophies of my podcast guest, Dylan Stansfield the Director of First Class Football Training.
Dylan was a high performing sportsman (football) and like most kids, grew up with aspirations of playing in the English Premier League and representing his country. Although Dylan got closer than most by representing his country at the age group levels, he didn’t manage to progress beyond this and unfortunately experienced the bitter disappointment of rejection and the crushing reality that his aspiration wasn’t going to be met. Now, as a full-time football coach, he uses his role to prepare his athletes, not necessarily for the realities of high performance sport but for the various challenges and set backs life throws at you. Dylan focuses on the emotional and mental component of his athlete’s performance. Ensuring his players know that success requires personal investment, effort and importantly, the ability to receive feedback in a positive manner. Where certain athletes give up when faced with set-backs, Dylan is hoping to build resilience in his athletes so they view this process as part of the journey and natural path to reach their goals.
As a new parent I was naturally learning new things, learning to adjust to a new way of life and at the same time, considering what values and morals we as parents were looking to model and nurture. Like most parents we were trying to get educated and were considering various parental philosophies (there are literally thousands of parental styles!) which would ultimately shape the premise of The Functional Dad. The theme of the Functional Dad would be based on the learning process. Firstly to showcase to the little one that learning is enduring and to master something takes time. Secondly, by creating a learning environment, we could normalize the process and learn to enjoy the journey and even learn to value it. Subsequently, we can create a culture that promotes curiosity, critical thinking and ultimately build resilience by developing effective coping strategies to deal with setbacks and barriers. It’s these values, along with kindness and tolerance, that we are hoping to promote. Furthermore, proving that success takes time and to get there you need effort and an openness to feedback. This enables the little one to maintain control of his behaviors and actions because he can focus on effort and his response to set-backs. This goes a long way to reframing failure and recognizing the important ingredients to become successful, being content and reaching self actualization.
The TED Talk explains this well, and the ability to delay gratification.
Don’t eat the Marshmallow.
In addition, there’s a trend in society to respond to information based on beliefs and opinion instead of evidence and facts. Therefore, promoting critical thinking and emotional intelligence is probably more important than ever. This is explained well by Nathan Wallis who talks about society and how parents can build healthy relationship with their kids.
I acknowledge this was a tasty post and the next edition will be a little lighter by discussing our little eco mission to reduce our waste, plastic and one-use items. This will include the various challenges and dilemmas we face, particularly when considering convenience and time versus ethical decisions.