Sometimes the moments that ‘take your breath away’ come in the most unexpected ways. The saying that truth is stranger than fiction is more true than false. Let me explain.
Goliath Giant Swing – Train the Trainer 2017
Recently Dads4Kids organised the Good to Great Train the Trainer Summit. My job is to vet and approve the guys that want to come. We only accept men who are committed to train fathers once a year with a Good to Great Course, to do so for 5 years, and thus become Master Coach trainers. The bottom line is that Dads4Kids is responsible to its donors to do this as the training is very costly. Action, not just talk is needed.
The other challenge is to find men who have the wherewithal and an existing network of men from which to draw, to single-handedly get the Good to Great course off the ground in their region. Trying to get men to sign up for a fatherhood course, as this video so aptly shows, is like herding cats.
The Good to Great Fathering Course is not just any fathering course, but also a how-to-be-a-good-husband course and a dozen other things besides.
The Good to Great Fathering Course is the toughest fathering course in the world, primarily because the men have to ‘do things’, not just talk about it.
The Good to Great Fathering Course trains men to be courageous for their children. Courageous men produce courageous children.
You might have noticed the ‘Goliath the Giant Swing’ video above. The hardest moment on the Goliath Swing video is found at the 1.04 sec mark.
You see the men who have pulled you up there count down: 3,2,1, zero. On zero you must voluntarily pull the ripcord that puts you into a 10 metre free-fall before the swing picks you up into its 26metre high orbit. Your back is to the ground and you feel totally helpless as the men gleefully count you down.
Your life seems to rush before you and there is a huge temptation to say, “Stop, get me down from here, I want to swing from a lower level where I don’t feel so exposed. I need a lower place that doesn’t require that level of courage and trust.” No one did that, but I certainly felt like it. You really have to trust the ropes and connections and the people who are in charge.
But the Goliath Swing was not the only moment that unexpectedly took my breath away.
In my vetting process for the Train the Trainer Summit I asked a single dad, who was going through a heartbreaking divorce, to become a trainer of men who want to become good husbands. It is without a fight. You must fight marital complacency because it will kill your marriage if you let it.”
I remember crying on the phone as he told me he was praying and working towards reconciliation but his wife had already made up her mind and the divorce that she had initiated was going ahead. He impressed me with his courage – firstly because he was being so open with me and secondly that he would be prepared to expose his own failure in order to prevent another man destroying his marriage because of the sin of complacency.
The second part of this breathtaking moment was that the same heroic single dad was in my discussion group led by one of the top trainers of Good to Great. We were all emotional as this brave single dad told his story about the devastation that marriage break up causes. We were all deeply moved, none more so than the top trainer, who was going through marital struggles to the point of break up himself.
He was so touched and challenged by the story of this brave single father that he left the summit that night to put things right with his wife. He came back the next morning to share his failure, and his success, with everyone at the Train the Trainer Summit. As these two men shared their experiences with the whole summit, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
For both of these men to share their stories of success and failure took enormous courage and totally, and unexpectedly took my breath away.
It reminded me of that moment of truth on the Goliath Swing when I had to pull the ripcord as the men shouted the countdown. I was exposed and 26 metres in the air. I had my back to the ground and felt helpless. I desperately felt I wanted to go to a lower level that didn’t require so much courage.
I am so glad that I did eventually pull the ripcord and more importantly I am so glad that these two brave men shared their stories with us, and with you.
Across Australia today, at least 50% of marriages are struggling and the other 50% will struggle at some time in the future. St Paul speaks about the ‘troubles’ that occur in marriage, or perhaps I should say, ‘we have trouble in marriage because of our fallen selfishness’. Job said it most eloquently when he said that “a man is born for trouble as sparks fly upwards”. Trouble and or struggles in marriage are unavoidable. It is what we do with them that counts.
As men, we need to gather at courses and men’s get togethers for inspiration. We need to work on our friendships. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “No man is useless while he has a friend”.
The full quote is even more pertinent:
“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”
I should rename this week’s newsletter as ‘Courageous Broken Men – teaching other courageous broken men how to be great dads and good husbands’Yours for more courageous men
PS. We will be sending out an invitation to a very special, once a year, Dads4Kids webinar soon. Keep your eyes peeled. It is an event you will not want to miss!