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Quick Parent Tip: How To Build Trust As A Leader

trust /trəst/: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. -Oxford Languages

Hey parents, teachers, and mentors! We know trust is a must when it comes to leading, but do we all know how to build trust with our children? Let’s have a quick chat.

I was recently thinking about a trip my family and I made to Sky Zone Trampoline Park to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. This is one of my favorite ways to celebrate birthdays because it is fun for the entire family (and we are not on the hook for the after-party cleanup)! While there, my son–who is enamored by ninja warriors–decided to take on the Warp Wall (picture below). After a couple of tries, he made it to the top! There was only one problem; he miscalculated the distance between the Warp Wall and the pole to exit the obstacle.

Courtesy of Google Images

I instinctively told him, “alright son, go ahead and grab that pole and slide down.” I missed  the fact that he was clearly stuck–afraid that he would injure himself if he attempted to come down. I tried to coach him on how to safely dismount to no avail. After about two minutes of rough parenting (I was really struggling to get him down lol), I finally said, “just jump! I will catch you.” Surprisingly, he was more receptive to this idea. “Are you sure?” He responded. “Yes. Trust me.” He finally came down.

In retrospect, I probably said about one hundred words in that long two minutes, but  “trust me” were the only two words I needed. My son’s trust in me caused his fears to decrease and his confidence increase. Trust is a powerful and vital tool for effective leaders. Here are five ways to build trust with your children.

Five Ways To Build Trust

1. Authenticity

My generation would simply say, “do you, boo boo!” In other words, be who you are, not who you think others want you to be. On one hand, you do not want to broadcast every intricate detail of your personal and professional life. On the other hand, you do not want to give the perception that you are perfect. If you give that perception, you will inevitably build a tower of high expectations on a foundation of false hopes. Then, when you make a mistake, that foundation will shift and cause the tower to collapse. Be comfortable with the person in the mirror. That’s who your children want/need you to be.

2. Transparency

You need to have clear, open, and frequent communication with your children. They should never be surprised by your expectations or thoughts about them. Be completely honest by telling them how their unique skills contribute to your household’s success. Don’t be afraid to show emotion as you lather them in positive affirmations, but try to limit or completely eliminate your negative emotions while correcting them. Being transparent exposes your true motives, so let your children know you have their best interests at heart and prove it through your consistent actions. As I have said before, more is caught than taught.

3. Integrity.

According to Oxford Languages, integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” The key word is honesty. You should strive for your actions to be consistently honest and your decisions to be morally sound regardless of the circumstance. Why? Because your children are always watching! You cannot convince your children that you are transparent with them when your actions wreak of dishonesty and deceit. They would accurately assume your lack of integrity perforates every single aspect of your life–including your relationship with them. Be honest, make morally sound decisions, and consistently demonstrate integrity.

4. Consistency.

Here’s a general rule of thumb: whatever you do, follow through. Follow through on your promises, rewards, and discipline. Be organized, maintain structure, and be consistent with who you are (authentic), what you do (transparent), and how you do it (integrity). Be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually present for your children. Always remember this: empty promises lead to shallow and untrustworthy relationships.

5. Proficiency. 

Some say, “knowledge is power,” but I believe applied knowledge is power! Nobody wants to follow a clueless leader. So we have to be continuous learners who simultaneously apply what we learn. Our children are counting on us to constantly learn more and refine our parenting and mentoring skills. Guess what? You are working on your proficiency right now by reading this, so kudos to you!

Remembering and applying these five tips will undoubtedly enhance your relationship with your children and restore the power to those two words we discussed earlier: “trust me.” Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time!

Author Olaolu Ogunyemi explains five ways to build trust with your children.
Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling Author

Find more great articles like this on my blog: http://www.parent-child-connect.com/blog

Did you know I offer FREE resources?! Check out http://www.parent-child-connect.com/free-resources

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The “Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine” release!

"Billy Dipper's Time to Shine" is scheduled to be released on February 16, 2022!
Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine
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Crow From the Shadow – Read Aloud! Books with morals for older kids, read aloud | Minty Kidz

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go

Dr. Seuss

Whether it is via call, text, DM, or otherwise, it is so encouraging to hear people read my story, Crow From the Shadow! 🤗

Thank you Minty Kidz YouTube Channel for reading aloud! See it here! You did an exceptional job of bringing this powerful message to families across the world in an entertaining way.

This made my day ☺️

Please subscribe to Minty Kidz on YouTube! 😁

Have a great evening!

Random shot with my oldest daughter! She’s supposed to be a baby forever! 😪
“Crow From the Shadow” on Amazon and Parent-Child-Connect.com (signed copy) now!

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Rejection Equals Motivation!

Rejection does not rival success. It reveals the true fighter within.

-Olaolu Ogunyemi

So there I was; working on a new blog post titled, “Responding to Rejection,” when my brother (Dr. Clement Ogunyemi) posted the below on his Instagram page:

This was so powerful to me that I had to share! Dr. Clement used a simple but extremely effective tool to turn a negative circumstance into a teachable moment. Anyone else have any tools and/or stories like this?

In short, his oldest son (Ethan) was not accepted into the National Elementary Honors Society; something Ethan really wanted. So, Dr. Clement used this as a teachable moment and opportunity to encourage his son.

Moral of the story: whether you are teaching a toddler to stack blocks, introducing geometry, or helping a juvenile parolee find a job, remind the child that they CAN! We believe in them! Rejection is not the end, it is motivation! 💪🏾

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Here’s What You Don’t Know About Improving Your Family’s Mental Toughness!

Join best-selling children’s book author and Mental Toughness Expert, Niels Van Hove & best-selling children’s book author and U.S. Marine Officer, Olaolu Ogunyemi on Facebook Live as they discuss life, mental toughness, fatherhood, and more! You do not want to miss it. September 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM Eastern.

Here it is in case you missed it!

Here are a few links mentioned in the video:

Connect with Niels Van Hove: http://www.mentaltoughness.online/

Connect with Olaolu Ogunyemi: https://parent-child-connect.com/

“My Strong Mind” book series on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/My-Strong-Mind…/dp/0648085910/

“Crow From the Shadow” on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09244VR1X/

Additional resources:
https://www.bubhub.com.au/…/how-to-develop-mental…/https://www.mamamia.com.au/make-your-children-more…/
https://www.kidspot.com.au/…/1082d37c9177d4f4cb1b700243…

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Quick Parent Tip: Build Your [Child’s] Life in Reverse

Hello great people! Recently, I was watching a movie called “Arrival” on Hulu. Here is a brief description I found on Google:

“Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.”

I will not give my opinion on the movie (because it is irrelevant for today’s topic). However, there was one quote at the end that got my wheels turning. 🤔

“If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?”

-Actor Amy Adams playing as Louise Banks (Arrival)

I started to pontificate on this slightly modified thought, “What if I could see ‘the end?’ Would I change what I am presently doing?” The easy answer is YES! But how?

1. Start Imagining

In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey said, “begin with the end in mind.” This requires foresight, imagination, and vision.

Our [your] ability to imagine in high definition is our [your] super power!

Try this: Close your eyes and see your children in the future. What kind of personality do they have? What brings them joy and fulfillment? What opportunities exist for them? Imagine… Imagine… Imagine. This is a high definition imagination moment (e.g. if you cannot taste the coffee that future you is sharing with your child[ren], just keep letting your mind wander!)

I’ll give an example. Brea and I imagine that our children will create healthy relationships, maintain a positive mental attitude, and be financially stable/free. That’s “the end,” but how do we get there??

2. Start Building (in reverse)!

Ok, so now that you have a clear picture of “the end” what do you do? You start building… in reverse!

Let’s take financial stability/freedom for example. We asked ourselves, “what does financial stability look like for our children later in life?” We imagined our children comfortably traversing through three key areas of finance: giving, saving/investing, and enjoying.

1. Giving: We truly believe Acts 20:35 that says, “…it is more blessed to give than to receive.” So not only are we extremely transparent with our giving, we encourage our children to do for others! Give their time. Give their talents. Give [donate] a percentage (at least 10%) of the money they earn. We want them to feel and understand the value of promoting the welfare of others.

2. Saving/Investing: I admit, this is a tough skill that requires discipline and practice, but if mastered at a young age, our children can ensure their future financial stability while building a legacy for future generations.

Currently, we are teaching our children to save using a couple of different “baskets.”

Basket (A) is call “short term savings.” The short term savings basket is used to get things that require them to save for less than ~30 days. For example, my 7 year old would work for a couple of weeks to earn enough money to purchase a $15 toy.

Basket (B) is called “long term savings.” The long term savings basket is used for things that take longer than ~30 days to save for. This is a little harder for the younger ones, but my 11 year old would work hard for a few weeks to purchase some brand new shoes…… Yea, she’s at that phase in her life. Bring back the little cute puzzles from Dollar Tree!! 😬🙄🥴… I digress.

You get the point, right? We are teaching them to consistently put money aside vice constantly working the “instant gratification” muscle (we will get to that in a second).

Lastly, we introduced my oldest to the concept of investing in mutual funds, and thanks to the Financial Literacy Flashcards by the Finance Doctor (shameless plug 🔌⚡), we have been able to teach her some valuable financial literacy terms! In the future, we will likely open a custodial Roth IRA, show her how we consistently invest for her college expenses, etc. But for now, we are slowly exposing her to the concept of long-term investing at a pace that we feel is appropriate.

3. Enjoying: This one came natural for our children–nobody had to teach them how to spend/enjoy money. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that! By mastering the other two key areas, our children will be able to reap the benefits of their hard work. We are not flashy people, but there are a few luxuries that we indulge in as a family so our children understand that there is nothing wrong with treating yourself! In fact, it is a must for a healthy lifestyle. Work hard, play hard!

And that’s it! That is just one of many examples of how we are building our lives in reverse. See how easy that was?!

Now it’s your turn. Give me an example of how you are (or will start) living your life in reverse!

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Quick Parent Tip: Father’s Day Edition

Happy Father’s Day to all my Dads out there!! We celebrate your accomplishments, sacrifices, and love today!

Let’s dive straight into today’s Quick Parent Tip!

Fight for your family! You are your family’s physical, mental, and spiritual protector. Embrace it. Fight for your family’s unity! Fight for their mental stability! Fight for peace in your home! Fight… Fight… Fight! You got this. Keep fighting. You are not alone. I believe in you!

Accept responsibility. You are responsible for everything that happens and fails to happen in your home. Let me be the first to tell you, this is both an honor and a burden. Regardless, keep pressing! Accept your responsibility willingly and take pride in being the leader of your home. Keep making decisions with your family’s best interest in mind.

Teach your family. You are a great teacher and mentor for your family. You have the wisdom, knowledge, and experience to do it; just believe in yourself! Remember, more is caught than taught, so continue to set the example with your words and actions.

Hearing vs listening. We all do it. We look up, see someone’s lips moving, and realize they have been talking to us the entire time. It’s ok. Next time, engage in active communication. Hearing is passive (i.e. your ears recognize there is sound, but that is it). Listening is active. You are actively engaged in the conversation. Ask questions. Nod along. Mirror body language. Share the moment!

Elevate your perception of your contributions. Listen, we men work our butts off, and oftentimes, it feels like it goes unnoticed. I want to encourage you to keep doing it! Your hard work, decisions, love, protection, and care are definitely making a difference! If no one else has celebrated you today, I am celebrating you right now!! Great job brother!

Relax and recover. Take a second today to focus on the positives–the great things you have done for your family! You have done (and continue to do) what many have turned away from. Rest well today knowing that your impact is felt by more than those in your household. Thank you! Society is indebted to you. You are and have been an integral part of your family’s success!

Happy Father’s Day!

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Quick Parent Tip About Time!

Exploring the importance of spending quality time with the ones you love!

Hey folks! I hope everyone is doing well on this beautiful Saturday evening. So, I was watching this video on Facebook, and I was reminded of how important time is!

(Sneak [screenshot] preview! LOL)
June 12, 2016

Here’s tonight’s tip!

Take a Break! That’s right. Unplug, turn off the phone/laptop/tablet, and give your family undivided attention.

Invest time into building intimacy with your family! Another word for “intimacy” is “closeness.” This is where you truly get to know the people you live with. Communicate. Ask questions. What makes them happy? What makes them sad? What are their interests?

Memorable moments. As a country guy from Louisiana, I became extremely familiar with losing power whenever there was a little rain. One of my fondest memories is sitting around a lantern while singing/harmonizing with my family! My parents created such beautiful moments and memories during those times. I encourage you to strive to create and capture (if you can) your own memorable experiences. Your family will appreciate it later!

Enjoy the moment! This is for the super-duper organized planners… Or those that are super-duper busy… Or whatever your “super-duper” is that distracts you. Be an active participant in creating the moment and enjoy every bit of it! Eliminate the distractions.

Alright, that’s enough for this evening. Time for me to get back to the crew. I hope you enjoyed this evening’s Quick Tip about TIME! See ya!

Family trampoline time!!… Almost landed it 😂🤦🏾‍♂️
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Three Day Mental Health Guide (Major Payne Edition): A Father’s Journey to Building Mentally Strong Children

Day One: A Tough Topic

Day One Guest Author- Dr. Clement Ogunyemi aka The Finance Doctor

Mental health is a tough topic of discussion in most homes and oftentimes met with negative comments. Those who deal with mental health are often shunned and ostracized.  I thought “finance” was a sensitive topic, but discussing mental health is like walking on thin ice. It is often seen as an untouchable, unspoken topic. I have personally learned from my own mental health journey, which started at an early age. I felt as though I would be viewed as crazy or looney, require a lifetime medication prescription, and/or be locked in an asylum for the rest of my life. I was always afraid to face my mental health head on and be open with my parents about how I was feeling. Growing up in the church, we were always taught that negative thoughts were the devil and we should just attempt to pray them away and hope for the best. As I got older, I often felt my mind drift to darker places than the last time. I finally learned that prayer alone just wasn’t going to cut it.

What I have learned along this journey is to be open and honest with my family and –most importantly– my children. With our world crumbling right before their eyes, who knows what could be going through those little minds?  I dealt with my mental health in adolescence alone because I was too afraid to open up to my parents and older siblings, thinking they would think something was “wrong with me.”  I do not want that for my children. When they deal with their mental health, I want them to understand that IT’S OK and PERFECTLY NORMAL.  I want them to understand that their biggest hero and cheerleader, Daddy, has and continues to go through those feelings while on his own mental health journey. I want those little boys to know that I am here to guide them through their journey and make sure that they are able to grow along the way.

I have learned to replace words like “struggling” and “coping” with words like “learning,” “growing,” and “progressing” when discussing my mental health journey. We all have our own journey, but it is imperative that we teach our children to navigate through this tough topic. How do we teach them? Let’s walk through this guide together! 

Day Two: Time to break the mold! 

“Shut up crybaby!” “Suck it up!” “Stop acting like a girl!” “You must be a wimp!” “Stop crying… real men don’t cry or show emotion!” “Toughen up!” “If you want sympathy, look in the dictionary between…” You know the rest. These sound familiar? In an attempt to teach our young people how to overcome adversity, these are some of the things we say. We should be developing what I like to call the three pillars of fortitude: physical toughness, spiritual toughness, and mental toughness; however, by constantly barraging our children with anything like the aforementioned clichés, we are inadvertently teaching our children to suppress pain/feelings while emotionally disconnecting from themselves and others. Society’s perception of masculinity and toughness has built crumbling mental toughness pillars.

🎥Watch this🎬: The Mask You Live In is a film worth watching that, “follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity… [This film] ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.” –therepresentationproject.org

Did you catch the Major Payne quote above?? That is definitely one of my favorite movies! For those that have not seen it (spoilers loading…), Major Payne is a comedy film from the ninety’s that stars Daymon Wayans acting as Major Benson Winifred Payne–a nail eating, combat tested, United States Marine (Oorah!) that was honorably discharged after being passed [twice] for promotion. He later finds a job as a JROTC instructor and faces the tall task of turning a “…gaggle of maggots into a well-disciplined cadet unit” (his words, not mine). Fast forward to the end, the newly-cohesive unit wins the Virginia Military Games! 

Now before you go purchase hand grenades to “train” your children, please understand that I am not endorsing Major Payne’s [hilarious] leadership model. He had A LOT to learn about raising/mentoring young people. The good news is after reading “The ABC’s Of Being A Positive Male Role Model,” Major Payne began to comprehend the importance of teaching young people to reconnect with their emotions. He understood that he had to “be sensitive to [their] needs” to reach their hearts. 

Tomorrow, we will discuss how we can make the same tweaks in our leadership abilities as the infamous Major Payne! Stay tuned. 

Day Three: The Major Payne Leadership Model

Fall in! 

Boot camp 101: “Fall in” is a command that means, “take your place in a military formation.” In the Marine Corps, we “fall in” at the position of “attention.” Meaning you are attentive and ready to hear what’s next. 

Since I have not located the book that triggered Major Payne’s transition from trained killer to effective mentor, I created the below ABCs Of Being a Positive Father and Role Model! Don’t worry… I’ll stop at “D.”

  • Always seek to inspire: this tip is a science and an art. 
    • The science (the what) is to be firm, be fair, teach your children how to be responsible, set the example with your own actions, and hold your children accountable. 
    • The art (the how) is to encourage, use positive reinforcement when they do well, and fill their minds with positive thoughts when they make a mistake or disappoint you. Lather your children in positive affirmations! 
  • Be patient: this is a tough one, because, like Mrs. Trunchbull from the movie Matilda said, “They’re all mistakes, children. Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.” Right? WRONG! Ok so let’s start there; have a little grace. Although we were all angels growing up, children are going to be children–they are just young human beings. They will make mistakes. They will sometimes disappoint you. They will sometimes get it wrong again, and again, and again. But it is ok! Take a deep breath, and extend a little grace.
    • Note: the definition of “patient” is, “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” That will definitely take some practice, but you can do it!

**Check this out: My youngest daughter literally jumped (fully clothed) into a kiddie pool as I was typing this section! So, I had an immediate opportunity to practice being patient. 🙃 I grabbed her hand, calmly told her, “you’re all wet; let’s go dry off,” and walked her inside. Po-si-tive *Major Payne voice **

  • Care and Compassion
    • Care is probably the simplest of the two C’s. To care is to provide the basic necessities of life (i.e. food, shelter, water, and electricity). This is where us fathers typically thrive, and sometimes, we are too quick to let everyone know (don’t brag; it’s your job 😉). Be physically present, and provide for your children. 
    • Compassion requires you to validate and value your children’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Do not fall into the trap of saying, “it’s really not that big a deal.” Instead, allow your children to share their feelings with you, so you become empathetic enough to have a strong desire to help. Don’t try to be “Mr. Fix It,” but at least express the desire to help! For example, someone once stole a very rare unicorn from my oldest daughter in an online game that she enjoyed playing. It seemed silly at first, but I realized this really hurt her feelings. So first, I had to verbally validate her feelings and emotions. Then, I shared the moment with her until she felt better. Simple but effective! 

**BONUS “C”: Celebrate!! My youngest was potty training when I wrote this. So I took a quick break to celebrate with a silly jingle and dance I made up, “Eni went poopy in the poooottty!” *Clap *Clap (repeat). Positive reinforcement goes a long way!**

  • Do not be afraid to cry openly! I heard my wife tell my son, “don’t be afraid to cry if something really hurts.” My initial cringe at that statement shows that I am NOT perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Now, I am not saying lie on the floor and project a deep wail (although I think that would be hilarious) next time you stub your toe, or Hulk Smash through a wall to show that “Daddy angry!” I am simply encouraging you to show emotion.  Look your children in the eyes and say, “I love you.” Rejoice with them, and allow them to see your happiness. Let them see you be angry, yet tempered and respectful. And when the opportunity presents itself, embrace them and cry with them. 

That’s it! Just like that, you now have all the tools you need to be successful. Now throw on your best Major Payne voice and go lead your home to a stronger mental health. 

Fall out! 

Note for my readers: If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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Nature Versus Nurture: Fathers Still Lead Well

Introduction: 

We all grew up in the same environment, yet have different perspectives–same teachings, different takes. Although we have encountered and been forced to overcome adversity- from personal struggles to systemic barriers- we still have hopes of creating the best of opportunities for our children. In this blog, we will examine how our upbringing influences our leadership style as fathers in today’s society.

My creation and birth were a result of the perfect storm: I was the first boy; I was gifted two wonderful older sisters who were 11 and 9 years old at the time, and I had TWO very nurturing parents who have been in my corner since day 1.  As such, I always knew that it was my birthright to inherit the Ogunyemi throne (LOL).  I can recall, oftentimes, my mother calling out my oldest sister for “trying to be my 2nd mom”, while trying to keep my “younger” sister from killing me.  These two experiences granted me a wealth of knowledge about the structure of the family, even more than I even realized at the time: 

1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look out for family ESPECIALLY your younger siblings and 

2. Never allow resentment to set in between siblings.  

If we look at point #1 – the nurture & protection that my oldest sister SHOWED me created a protective nature in me that only grew as I became a big brother three times over.  NO ONE – and I mean No one – could touch a hair on my little brothers’ heads.  Now that I am a father of two, I am able to instill those same values & principles into my children.  Our mother used to always tell us that when things hit the fan, when the world is in chaos, when the world turns its back on you, ALL we will have in our corner is each other – and that’s enough!  I have taught my oldest son that it is his job – his duty- to protect his baby brother and to make sure that his baby brother feels the love, nurture, and protection from THIS household FIRST.

As we look at point #2 – nipping sibling resentment at the bud – my “younger” sister and I had MANY spouts…I swore that she was always upset with me (eye roll).  As I got older I began to understand that SHE was the youngest for NINE YEARS and then all of a sudden, this new baby had disrupted her entire world.  In adulthood, my household is what most would call a “non-traditional” or “blended” family.  For the 1st 4 years of his life, it was just me and my oldest son, Ethan.  Fast forward, his daddy meets a girl, and a few short years later, he is a big brother.  I observed as he would act out and I could deduce that he could not even explain WHY he was acting out.  My experiences with my sister taught me the “WHY” and how to make sure that resentment did not set in and that he did not begin to dislike his fresh new baby brother.  With this in mind, I can deduce that my first two interactions with humans other than my parents (my big sisters), taught me how to deal with different personalities and to ensure seamless transitions within the “modern” family dynamic.

Joshua Ogunyemi: Fathers Still Lead Well
Fathers Still Lead Well: Click here for more Joshua Ogunyemi affectionately known as “Josh O!”

“Put some food in your mouth!” our dad would sternly interrupt, as we sat around the dinner table and one of us had said one word too much.  “Putsomefoodinyourmouth,” he would rattle off, almost like it was one long word, anytime conversation was (let’s just say) unbecoming.  I now understand as I sit across the table from our 5 year old son while his mouth runs at about 1,000 words per minute.  

Looking back on it, Daddy (yeah, I still call our daddy, “Daddy”) taught us a valuable lesson.  I don’t know if he ever actually said these words, but the phrase “put some food in your mouth” (or whatever hilarious quote we derived from that phrase), taught us to MAKE YOUR WORDS COUNT– to be thoughtful and measured.  He taught us to “think before you speak, son.”  and as our mom would put it, “there’s a time and place for everything.”  

Obviously, we were unaware of it then but a couple decades later, all of us echo their words to our own children. Though I’m sure our parents oftentimes preferred we would actually shut up and eat when they said things like, “finish eating your food FIRST, then play,” these phrases surpass the literal and have become metaphorical pillars in our individual households. These incredible lessons taught us to prioritize–PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST! As I reflect on that ageless guidance, I am excited to know that I am contributing to my own children’s success as I teach them to FOCUS ON THE TASK AT HAND. Though sometimes humourous, these experiences during our adolescence greatly contributed to our ability to lead and nurture our children today. 

Olaolu Ogunyemi: Fathers Still Lead Well
Fathers Still Lead Well: Click here for more information about Olaolu Ogunyemi

Fathers, internalize this reverberating message, your experiences have given you everything you need to be successful! My brothers made sure that I had my share of adversity growing up. I was the fifth of six children, and in our family, number five just happened to be the odd ball–one and two were two peas in a pod, three and four were partners in crime, and number six was in a protected class known as “the baby.” With that in mind, I remember going to my Mom with what was probably one of 1,000 complaints about my brothers. I wanted vindication. I wanted revenge. I wanted justice! Instead, my Mom looked at me and calmly said, “if you allow people to know what buttons to push to upset you, they will always push those buttons.”

Of course at the time, I did not understand or appreciate how profound that statement was, and I definitely did not expect to be teaching my children similar lessons down the road; however, life provided me many opportunities to apply this timeless advice. Simply stated, I believe one of the keys to overcoming adversity while pursuing opportunity is to master the art of conquering conflict. As a father, we have an innate desire to protect our children; however, I implore my fellow fathers to never waste a negative experience. Use them as teachable moments. 

Now I am not encouraging fathers to stand idly by, waiting to offload a lengthy lecture ripe with anecdotal phrases and clichés while their child gets pummeled, but I am encouraging my peers to use the natural clash of wills between two human beings to nurture your children and develop the characteristics needed to be successful in today’s society. Applying this simple approach will help turn our hopes for our children into reality. 

Daniel Ogunyemi: Fathers Still Lead Well
Fathers Still Lead Well: Click here for more Daniel Ogunyemi aka Dan

I, the said “baby” find it quite comical that Olaolu considers certain aspects of his growing up adversarial and “odd”… Objectively speaking, the youngest is ALWAYS the best (i.e. King David). Nonetheless, my siblings found it necessary to “teach” me otherwise. Being the youngest, I often had a chip on my shoulder- to be the loudest, tallest, to fit in with my older siblings. In many ways, this obviously backfired. In the best of ways, though, my family found ways of cultivating that lively, rambunctious personality into the person and father I am today.

My family has always been my biggest unconditional support system. I can recall multiple conversations of being told, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you enjoy it, make us proud, and strive to be the best.” As an adult, I continue to take pride in the Ogunyemi name with hopes of passing that pride to my son. As my reflection, it is important for me to teach Kian how to be persistent, resilient, and driven while using discernment in every situation he will find himself in. My family taught me when to be loud, but that there are more times to be more quiet than loud. As a father, I hope to continue this strategic approach in celebrating whatever Kian’s personality becomes so he can continue to make a difference in the world.

The short story for all of us is that we have a faith that drives everything we do and parents and older sisters that loved and supported us (still do) in everything we sought to accomplish. We interpreted situations very differently and have a diversity of experiences. In fact, you may think it is a full blown war whenever we get together for holidays or other occasions. Nonetheless, unconditional love persists. We have stood side-by-side for successes, failures, traumas, special moments, heartbreaks, and everything in between. Because of this, we stand before you as college graduates, spouses, mentors, leaders, advocates, friends, brothers… And most of all, good dads!

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