Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Put me in a room with a dozen guys my age and most likely I will surface as either the cultural equivalent of Paul Rudd, Ron Paul, or Jack Johnson.
If I were a main character on Lost, at best I would be the reluctant leader Jack Shephard, but I definitely would not be Sawyer or Sayid.
If I were part of the cast of Scrubs, I would be J.D. Dorian, not Dr. Cox.
In other words, by default, I am not the alpha male. I am the off-beat guy in the corner that people like being around, but don’t look to for protection, acceptance, or approval.
I am not the pack leader. Instead, I am the pack… guy next door.
And that’s fine by me; I know my role and my place in society.
Except when it’s not fine. Except when I must by default become the necessary pack leader. Most importantly, in my home.
In a household consisting of my wife and our 14 month-old son, I am obviously the alpha male. If I wasn’t, it would be a disaster; like the kind of thing you would watch on the TV show Supernanny.
And at my day job, with my sales position, being aggressive and taking charge is vital. I’m definitely by no means the alpha male there, but applying the things I learn from being one in my home helps me perform better at work.
Being the alpha male in my home means making important decisions on the spot and being good at making those decisions. Being this pack leader of my home means establishing order and trusting that my direction allows for my “society” to carry out that established order.
Yes, I am using the phrases “alpha male” and “pack leader” but when it really comes down to it, I’m talking about being the head of the household.
I’m going to edit this next sentence for sexual content, so use your imagination:
I’ve learned that as a man, it’s better to be perceived as a [jerk] than a [pansy].
My wife would rather be married to someone she respects because he is willing to take control of the situation, as needed, as compared to a man who is so easy-going that he leaves her up to take care of the decision-making and planning of both small and large household events.
Granted, we make our decisions together. But there are plenty of times where it needs to be my call and my initiative.
When it comes down to it, I don’t like being in charge and making decicisions. But to be a man, to be a husband, to be a dad; it’s just something I’m having to get used to.
Image: Goldfish swim in an aquarium, via Shutterstock.
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Knowing that my son will inevitably pick up on the vibes I put out there as I react to him, I make a conscious effort to be calm-assertive, as a dad. Here’s my own definition of calm-assertiveness: being cool, calm, and collected as well as being direct, assertive, and respectable.
I very much enjoy watching Cesar Millan’s TV show Dog Whisperer, as he teaches the importance of being a “calm-assertive” leader. It’s not only interesting to learn about how dogs were meant to be raised and trained, but also how a lot of what Cesar Millan teaches actually translates to human relationships. He himself has noted the comparison, being known for saying: “Humans are the only animals who will follow unstable pack leaders.”
The Dog Whisperer makes a great point about us humans needing stable, respectable leaders. When we (as well as our children) do not have a confident, consistent, authoritative example to live by, we can become confused, angry, anxious, rebellious, spiteful, and/or apathetic. I know for a fact that I am wired to want to follow the best human examples out there. So I am always looking around the room to locate the “pack leader.”
Sometimes that means that I need to be that leader, when there is not a legitimate or active one present. I was also programmed to want to be in control, because often, my ability to control is necessary and needed for the structure of those around me; especially at work and at home.
I can’t allow my son to begin to believe that he is the pack leader; that he is the boss. Sure, I know we parents may joke about our kids “ruling the roust” sometimes, but in all seriousness, there needs to be no doubt in my son’s mind who really makes and carries out the rules. It’s my job to make it clear that there are definite boundaries that must be respected.
When it comes to establishing those boundaries, part of my responsibility as a dad is to figure out the limits while considering my wife’s maternal input. Undeniably, I must make the conscious effort to establish order and expectations for my son to live by.
Granted, my expectations are necessarily and realistically set as low as they need to be. But I refuse to be a dad without direction.
Thank you, Cesar Millan, for introducing me to the concept of the term “calm-assertive,” even though I’m not actually a dog person.
This post is a spin-off of “Putting My Paternal Instincts to Good Use.”
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Must Read, People, Storytelling | Tags: calm-assertive, Cesar Millan, daddy, daddy blog, Dog Whisperer, dogs, family, fatherhood, pack leader