Scott Hammond (www.BecomeaBetterFather.com) is a nationally recognized parenting expert, an author of a powerful and positive life-transforming book for Fathers entitled, “Every Day Dad: The Guide To Becoming A Better Man”, husband, and father of nine children. Mr. Hammond took time from his very developing schedule to sit down and chat with IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® about, among other things, his book, the most challenging and rewarding aspects of Fatherhood, and the mixed signals that Men are receiving about masculinity and their parental roles and responsibility.
The first thing we wanted to know was whether Mr. Hammond had received any advice about Fatherhood and, if so, from whom. Mr. Hammond told us that his Father’s relationship with him spoke volumes about parenting from a male perspective:
“Not much was said to me about Fatherhood. What I learned about Fatherhood came from my interaction with my Dad Bob who really employed relationship parenting with me in my teen years through listening to me, spending time with me, and involving me in his world.”
So, what are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of Fatherhood for Mr. Hammond, who is the co-parent of nine children?
“For me, the most rewarding aspects of being a Dad is watching my children grow and become contributing adults who love, serve, and bless others. The most challenging aspects of Fatherhood is dealing with stress, lack of sleep, and being tired at night due to the rigors of my work day while at the same time being attentive to the needs of my children. “
Are Men receiving mixed signals about masculinity and their parental roles and responsibilities?
“Oh, yeah!” exclaimed Mr. Hammond.
Where are these mixed signals coming from? The media? Popular music videos, films, television situation comedies, and society?
“Mixed signals are coming from the media, popular music videos, films, television situation comedies, and society. We need safe and sane men to model our livers after, not the media’s so-called heroes who have no real life or love to offer. These folks are by and large empty, but have some talent. Character is what I look for.”
What was Mr. Hammond’s motivation for writing, “Every Day Dad: The Guide To Becoming A Better Man”? What are some of the responses his book has received?
“This book is about hope, renewal, and a Life Renaissance – bout what is possible. I wrote the book as a result of loss, death, and personal depression – all of which resulted in a personal Mid-Life Renewal and Renaissance. The deaths of my father Bob Hammond, and my friend, Dan Gunderson, caused me to think about how I live my life and what kind of legacy I am leaving behind for my children, wife, and friends. The deaths of two people very close to me made me realize the fragility and temporal nature of our existence. Life really does go by quickly and must be cherished and relished. My love for God, people, and especially parents and families has resulted in this work. It presents the possibility of incremental, practical, and a workable personal healing and change. It also presents methods for getting back on track as both a parent and as a person of value. My goal is to help people avoid a midlife crisis and, instead, have a Mid-Life Renewal and Life Renaissance – a restoration of hope. The responses to my book have been mostly great. It is being called an ‘Encyclopedia Of Fathering’ and a ‘Compendium For Parenting’.”
When asked to discuss the role that women can and should play in helping their husbands positively shape the minds and souls of our sons and daughters as they make their journey from childhood to adulthood, Mr. Hammond remarked:
“That is a nice question. Joni – my wife – and I complement each other in every way, including parenting. We complete our kids.”
Many men find that creating and implementing plans that move their families forward, holding their families together, and raising children to be a daunting task in the Millennium. Why does parenting seem difficult in the Millennium?
“Men tend to be great planners, movers, shakers, project managers, people managers, but we are often horrid at building relationships with those we love. Why is that? Men can run businesses and governments, and even societies, but we are often lacking at running a family. The family, our wife and children, often get the leftovers of our minds, bodies, and emotions at the end of the day. Several of the reasons, the issues, problems, and challenges that Men face are part of what we call modern life. For empire builders, and government runners, too many of the skills in our toolbox begin with the prefix ‘poor’:
- Poor time management skills – being too busy and not managing time well enough.
- Workaholism, perfectionism, poor skill sets with fathering.
- Poor fathering examples – no father-mentors to speak of.
Buying, owning, and maintaining too many possessions and having ‘stuff’ plus a thousand other distractions – including low-priority activities such as computers, TV, gaming, hobbies, sports, and illicit activities – all vie to drain our time, attention, and energy so that, at the end of the day, we have little enough to invest where it counts: our family. When men get stuck, they never ask for directions. How can we possibly admit weakness, vulnerability, or just being generally lost? This all makes for a very sad situation. Dads are not picking and living their priorities. Dads get lost, and they never ask for help."
What is “Purpose Driven Parenting”?
“Successful parents are clear and spot on with what they’re trying to accomplish in training their children. Discipline and focus must balance grace and mercy. There must be a balance between grace and discipline in managing a family in raising great kids. Great parents are intentional parents. They know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Parenting also comes with the mandate to be flexible. Flexibility coupled with humor, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the ability to keep it light will help parents get through many a dark time. Training our kids through leading them by example and serving them is also a key component in that our values are usually caught not taught. This modeling of our values and walking our talk is key in setting an example for our kids to follow. As we live our values as parents, our kids are taught and catch what we are instructing by the message of our lives and example. The key is for parents to be totally focused on this key role, whilst understanding none of us are perfect – thus we need grace both on others and for ourselves as parents.”
What parenting advice do you have for Non-Custodial and Divorced Dads who only have partial custody of their children due to court-mandated custody arrangements and are unable to be physically present in their children’s lives every day?
“So, let’s talk about love and family. How does our care translate practically into an inheritance and legacy we leave behind for them? Our love for family should be a tangible, practical, actionable practice. Our everyday parenting is a practical expression of intentional love, which by its definition leaves a footprint or legacy. This can be good, bad, or ugly. For most of us, it’s a mixed bag. Preparing our kids for an inheritance is a far greater challenge than preparing an inheritance for our kids. But herein lays the challenge. I’d like to leave an inheritance for my children and to keep it for them, but I also need to keep them for it. I want to leave my children a large inheritance, but also to prepare my children for that inheritance. Acquiring and keeping an inheritance for them, but also keeping them for that inheritance is key to positive motivation. I know I must love them unconditionally, making them my priority and focus, and to accept and respect and receive my children. These are starting points for a quality inheritance for generations to come. What is the bottom line of what you want to leave behind as a parent? Is it money? Portfolios? Real estate? Stuff? Values? Faith? Ethics . . . or something much more? One route calls for a gathering of stuff and goods in a portfo0lio to give away when we’re dead. The other has to do with preparing our kids and investing in their lives by an intentional downloading of our values, ethics, spirituality, and so much more. This preparing for an inheritance of life, relationships, and everything that’s important is far greater and compelling payoff for those whom we leave behind when we pass.”
What’s next for you?
“Being a faithful man . . . doing what God is showing and calling me to do – grow my family, be a good guy and churchman, and love my wife, and leave a legacy of love.”