Engage the children at their level. Time spent in play, at their level (even right on the ground and carpet) is good for parents and children alike. Meanwhile, use recreation as a means to build a community of support with friends. But, also engage in community recreation with other dads and their kids giving kids valuable time to socialize and interact, giving dads a break with peers, all the while engaging in fun sports and recreation.
As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Dr J Paul Rand.
Dr. Rand is the author of Dad-Job: The Fastest Growing Career in America. He has presented live on 5th Ave Forbes when speaking about the parenting model rooted in leadership. Prior to researching this publication, Dr Rand has been regularly featured in Huffington Post outlets, Forbes, HR publications and other outlets as an awarded, respected, and leading research and performance psychologist. As a performance and research psychologist he spent over a decade helping veterans and military leaders combat PTSD at his research and applied Think-Tank The-Orchard.org. Rand is the executive director of RSolutions, an IP incubator based in the City of Companies, Seattle Washington. He was recently nominated as a Regional White House Fellow and intends to continue to seek a chance to serve in the White House in this non-partisan opportunity to serve the nation.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I was raised in a small community north of Seattle, Washington — better known as the City of Companies. Back then a twenty mile trip to the city could be made with ease several times a day; now it can take several hours each way which really adds to the stress of parenting in our community.
I served that same community as the youngest elected official in Washington history in what feels like a prior life. The community has since gone on to twice be ranked by US News and Report (among others) as a top city in America, some of which was a direct result of balanced policy perspectives I helped to enact while in office. After college I remained local and purchased property, including a property where the non-profit The-Orchard.org operates.
Presently, I raise a two-year-old, four-year-old, 13 year old and a 21 year old bonus daughter (aka step daughter) with my wife who works in healthcare.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
After leaving politics, I launched a successful career designing corporate learning programs and working at the intersect of higher-education, professional associations, and fortune 100 corporations before I completed my PhD in psychology. My expertise within this industry was developing an awarded method of unique research dedicated to the intensive understanding of the lived experience in a process called Learning to Learn (2009) which was the subject of an interview with this outlet.
A few years ago an opportunity presented itself for me to take a deep-dive into research through my private Think-Tank. At the time I was working with combat soldiers who were unable to work due to disabilities found themselves in a new role: the dad-job. I was moved by the fact that 90% of social programs specifically deny fathers access to support, despite an over 4-fold increase in the number of single, stay-at-home dads in our country the past few years.
Inspired by this research I became further motivated when I learned my very young son was developmentally delayed. The irony of being an educational-psychologist and this discovery caused me to shift focus away from corporate work to tackle organic research to understand the fastest growing career in America: the dad-job.
This also came on the heels of my “bonus daughter” who lost a friend in a K12 related shooting; this was also right around the time of several teen suicides in my local community; and, followed a series of events that caused me to opt to step back and focus on a serious, modern, and needed role to fully grasp my research of the Dad-Job.
Through the research and publication, I have sought to create a working model that inspires actions “by fathers, with fathers, to better kids and community” that links my work in performance psychology and organizational leadership. I presented my findings live on 5th Avenue on Forbes, and am set to publish the book in early 2020 backed with team providing coaching, courses, and a business system for stay-at-home dads living in poverty (for every one single mother living in poverty there are over 3 single dads raising kids in poverty according to recent research by the Pew Institute).
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
By managing based on priorities, I ensure my ability to concentrate, be focused, execute but balance the lessons I learned about the value of being present, attentive and available in the home life as much as work opportunities. I can interact with the leads running my programs, but balance family obligations as a priority on a daily and weekly basis.
I have a set and quick morning routine that ensures I conduct a scan of international, national, and local issues by following a few key reports issued representing both conservative and liberal perspectives. I look at key performance indicators that relate to my research and my projects; and incubate that knowledge for papers, policy papers, or notes pertaining to research, projects and trends for my for-profit programs that operate in several time zones.
Otherwise, I have a schedule that really builds around balancing the strengths and requirements of the children, the responsibilities of the family, and then adjust my work accordingly to support being attentive but also responding to important and priority obligations for my whole-self duties. I outline this in detail in another article if your audience is interested!
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
In DadJob, along with other publications I have written over the past decade, I emphasize that that life is a journey. We often confuse work-life balance forgetting that work only makes up 1/8 of our whole self (since 2013 when I was an adjunct professor, I advocated professionals seek life-work balance as a focus for “Culture-ROI”). I have discovered in my research with high performance leaders, special forces, executives, that the key is Learning to Learn (a method I published in 2009) as a way having balancing life-work opportunity and maximizing performance.
In the role of parenting, as busy executives intentionally prioritize spending time with children using my method, they report increased learning about each child’s personality, strengths, and needs. In the publication Dad-Job, I outline how fathers can better focus on who they are, what their strengths are, and how to lead in the house, relationships, and community. This process being one of personal self-success in the fatherly role, but also unlocking the learning process to maximize positive dynamic relationships with their children regardless of age. While learning about their children, parents can also see little reflections of ourselves; a chance to learn changes we wish to make to be more successful in our own reflection.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
Ever wonder why the kids get loud as soon as you get on a phone call? Or sometimes they just are all over the house. Kids are receptors. They pick up on energy, nerves, anxiety, frustration, excitement. They reflect back what we as parents often project. The problem of technology (which I discuss my research in length in an interview with this outlet available on my website) is the challenge of keeping a healthy balance.
We bring work, finances, stress, and even mindless entertainment right into our everyday interaction with children. Remember, children can tell you are not fully attuned. Research shows your stress (or distress) impacts them negatively.
There is no more important role than that of being a parent; more especially an attuned, active, and engaged parent. You have an entire life to build a business, advance a career, climb mountains. But your children are young for just a few significant years of that lifelong learning journey. Seek balance.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
As a researcher and scholar, I see a lot of reports and studies. From the broad perspective I will suggest my seminal research on the Dad-Job reveals that it’s a very difficult role due to many new influences that were not even imaginable when prior studies were conducted or started (long-term studies) on the topic of parenting. This combined with the fact that over 90% of social programs restrict father participation, caused me to focus on creating an process for fathers to understand the complexities of raising children in the modern world..
In Dad-Job I emphasize the following guiding framework:
- Recreation: Engage the children at their level. Time spent in play, at their level (even right on the ground and carpet) is good for parents and children alike. Meanwhile, use recreation as a means to build a community of support with friends. But, also engage in community recreation with other dads and their kids giving kids valuable time to socialize and interact, giving dads a break with peers, all the while engaging in fun sports and recreation.
- Valued-Expectations: set guiding expectations around core values that define the culture of who your family is together as a working unit, keep schedules prioritized around those values.
- Be REAL: This does not mean burden children with things they do not need to know. Be real by respecting their age and role and discerning about what they need to hear, be exposed to, and influenced by our modern society. It is also a reminder about being real about the powerful technology tools you put in their hands, which was the focus of an interview on well-being I had with this outlet and another feature on developing health habits with technology in this outlet.
- Respect Family Roles: it is very important we support and champion parents and their contributions. Regardless of social, political, or other norms, working women should be supported in their professional pursuits if that’s the direction they pursue, just as stay-at-home fathers, too, should be appreciated.
- Be Dynamic, no matter how small: always be seeking what can you do to learn more, apply better, and position to support your family based on strengths of each member. Create a culture of leadership in your house that is positive, focused on always improving but balanced by respect and a few guiding principles outlined in detail in Dad-Job.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.
To answer this, I will suggest a single strategy from my research for the publication: start a movement by embracing the applied model outlined in the book Dad-Job “by fathers, with fathers, for kids and community”
This strategy will allow personal focus to address issues in the home by learning to learn who you are, your values and strength, and desired life-work balance. As a busy father (or parent) seek to learn the dynamic children you have, focused on their optimized learning and not success you pre-define for them.
Appreciate your children, embrace the annoyances: they are learning, and it is your opportunity to receive the value of the “speed of patience.”
Champion the family and children in real, right, and impacting ways by learning what makes them think, act, and lead in their little unique ways. From this awareness, be a friend by supporting others in the dadjob role and engage the community to change the world.
In other words, step into the flow of parenting by taking a deep dive into the book Dad Job!
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
In my research and publication, I try to avoid labeling good and bad; just as I try to avoid telling people how to parent. Instead, the model I present examines the research and evidence from children, success, dynamics, and psychology based on an applied model. This model has been endorsed for outcomes it helped veterans combating PTSD achieve in their quest to get right; the prior research having even inspired a scene in the movie American Sniper for the influence the method had helping combat veterans to find right, get right, and be dynamic.
From this model and my recent research of parenting, I suggest:
- be attentive (to your character) to your children;
- build bridges with other parents that share your family values;
- create an ecosystem to serve as role models by engaging the community to change the world.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
This is such a great question!
In my publication I outline a process to cultivating this in children through a specific process: read, recite, and (w)rite. Specifically, helping children develop their ability to visualize is important. By reading to children you can go beyond the words and images to encourage “creating their own story.” I researched and define a very specific pathway to doing this based on visualization techniques I developed and found effective in my work at The-Orchard.org, but bring to life for fathers in the Dad-Job publication.
The process expands into the opportunity to create kids’ books, young adult books, and adult books by creating an adaptive experience with your children. It’s not intended to be a process or project of immediate reward, but to emphasize a principle I write about in several publications as “the speed of patience”. In this manner you are instilling work-ethic, focus, effort but also balancing the greater value that quality togetherness is not necessarily countable, but it absolutely counts!
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Thank you for asking about this focus of my background! As you may know I have been an awarded psychologist recognized by the Society of HR Management, the White House, this media outlet, and Forbes for my work as a leading scholars researching the application of dynamic-success psychology.
Success is an internally defined benchmark and milestone; dynamics are the external interactions. Both have a direct impact on measuring your daily and long-term well-being. By integrating the two I created a system to develop the individual character, cultivate balance between internal and external performance outcomes, and integrate key education and application to impact the outcome of profound results. Often people ask me how is it that you can manage the companies, research, and parenting role you have taken on?
The key: be dynamic, no matter how small. I practice as much as preach a message of inspira disciplina ducatus: Live. Learn. Lead with dynamic focus.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
In 2020 I will listen to the thought leaders of the Best Ever You radio network and monthly blogs provided by authors, scholars, community leaders all focused on helping people achieve dynamic-success from unique perspectives. Some interesting leaders there and not the run of the mill mainstream media guru’s.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I live by Einstein’s perspective that not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts can be counted.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am actively working to make modifications to the Department of Labor specifically in regard to applied professional science. It would be very much appreciated if your audience shared my interview in this network to address urgent concerns impacting our nation that requires a system to lessen the pressure on higher education that also improves economic opportunity for men and women.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!