You Have to Come Up With Challenges

Of course, you want tough kids. You want boys who are active and resilient. You want girls who are active and resilient. You want them to be healthy, you want them to be able to overcome obstacles, you want them to know how to defend themselves, you want them to be prepared for the ups and downs of life. 

As we talk about in the Stoic Parent Challenge, one of the ways to do this is by creating challenges for them. Theodore Roosevelt was famous for taking his kids on long walks and leading them over boulders and through thick woods. He wanted to get them used to exerting themselves and solving problems. Cato the Elder, the great-grandfather of the towering Stoic Cato the Younger did the same thing with his son. 

Plutarch writes that he trained his son Marcus “in athletics, and taught him how to throw the javelin, fight in armour, ride a horse, use his fists in boxing, endure the extremes of heat and cold, and swim across the roughest and most swiftly flowing stretches of the Tiber.” 

If you haven’t read Jocko Wilink’s The Way of the Warrior Kid, you should—as a family. It’s good even for adults. 

You can’t just want tough kids. You have to make tough kids. And you make them tough by challenging them and teaching them the rewards of those challenges. You make them tough by toughing things out, together.

P.S. This was originally sent on November 6, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”