Teaching strength: a father’s quest against modern distractions

Teaching strength: a father’s quest against modern distractions

Becoming a father of two has sharply refocused my lens on the world, especially regarding the myriad of influences vying for my children’s attention.

It’s not just about screen time control (although the AFL’s troubling embrace of gambling culture has prompted me to switch that off); it’s about guiding them through the noise towards a healthier, more grounded understanding of wellbeing.

In my journey, both personal and professional, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of strength training and outdoor activities – not just for the body, but for the mind and spirit. It’s a message I’m passionate about passing on to my kids, not through words but through action.

The reality we’re navigating isn’t simple. Marketing tactics and social media narratives often push ideals and solutions that are at odds with the values of hard work, resilience, and self-acceptance.

I’ve seen enough quick fixes and “magic pills” being peddled to know they don’t lead to lasting happiness or health. And I refuse to let these be the only voices heard in my children’s formative years.

This isn’t about sheltering them from society’s complexities but equipping them with the tools and attitudes to approach life with strength and confidence. It’s not merely academic; it’s deeply personal. It’s showing them the importance of nurturing both their physical and mental landscapes.

I want my children to see strength and nutrition not as chores or responses to societal pressure but as acts of self-care. By integrating these practices into our family life, I aim to model behaviours that emphasise persistence, self-care, and the intrinsic rewards of feeling strong and capable.

Bringing my kids into environments where fitness and health are prioritised, I’m not just exposing them to a gym setting, I’m showing them a community that values effort over appearance, and discipline over instant gratification. It’s crucial for them, especially for my daughter, to see their mother embracing her strength, to understand that self-worth isn’t tied to the scale but to how you respect and treat your body.

This column isn’t a manifesto against the media or a critique of modern marketing. It’s a father’s reflection on the lessons he wishes to pass on to his children.

And if, along the way, they learn to navigate the world’s challenges with a bit of their father’s stubborn optimism and resilience, I’d consider that a job well done. •

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