My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad

When I was a kid, “My dad can beat up your dad” was a phrase I heard a lot. It’s not really about actual fighting—it’s more about the confidence kids have in their dads. This confidence usually comes from seeing their dads do stuff like working out or playing sports. 

Kids don’t really understand jobs or the value of money. They just know their parents go to work and provide a home and food. So, a parent’s job or career doesn’t mean much to them. Those are bragging points for adults, not kids. What really impresses kids are things they can relate to, like sports and athleticism. 

Back in the day, the coolest dads were the ones who participated in sports with us. Whether it was filling in at practice, shooting hoops, or playing all-time QB, these dads stood out. They might not have been perfect, but to us, they were the coolest, and hearing “Your dad is the coolest” was a great feeling.

Bragging about your parents is a way for kids to impress their friends. Growing up, I played tennis with my mom a lot. She was a badass and always beat me, never taking it easy. I hated losing to her back then, but now I appreciate it. I only ever played tennis competitively for the school, but I often got asked if I played for an academy or went to tennis camps. I’d proudly say, “Nope, I just played with my mom.” That was a cool flex.

Hearing my own kids brag about me one day is something I strive for. There’s nothing cooler than hearing, “My dad works out all the time,” or “My dad is strong.” We usually work out to lose weight, be healthier, or just feel better, but our kids are always watching and mimicking us. Working out regularly is one of the best examples we can set.

As we get older, it gets harder to play sports with our kids, especially as they get better. My mom says she hung up her racquet because her body couldn’t take the impact anymore, but I may remember it as I finally beat her. 😉 Even after we stopped, she continued to exercise. She was always staying active, whether at the gym, the park, or workout classes, and she inspired me to make fitness my profession.

I have two stepkids and one on the way, and I want to be a great role model for them. They might not see me exercise often because they are in school when I do, but they see me play soccer on weekends and go to jiujitsu practice twice a week in the evening. I want to show them that staying active is just part of our routine.

I play soccer on the weekends and go to jiujitsu late in the evenings because, with our busy schedule, this is my only time to do those things. But I make the time. My mom worked long hours, commuted over 30 minutes each way to work, had two kids heavily involved in extracurricular activities, never missed an important event or game, and still made time to exercise and stay healthy. That commitment stuck with me. 

I often hear people say they don’t have time to work out because of their kids. But your kids will appreciate you taking the time to be healthy. When you do something challenging like CrossFit or jiujitsu, your kids will brag about you. My stepkids talk about their mom like she’s Wonder Woman, and she deserves it.

Take the time for yourself, set a good example for your kids, and don’t use them as an excuse. Remember, your kids won’t remember your job title or how much money you made. What they’ll remember are your habits, how you lived your life, and the time you were able to spend with them. If you lead a healthy, active lifestyle, that will also stick with them. They’ll recall the times you spent being active together and the positive habits you demonstrated. On the other hand, if you have unhealthy habits, those will leave a lasting impression, too. Make the choice to be a positive role model in all aspects of life. Your kids are always watching, learning, and emulating you. 

Make it count.

Coach Richard