Episode 271 Transcript (John Wyatt)

Episode 271 (John Wyatt)

Podcast Intro: [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where He teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m gonna give it my all.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:00:38] Ah, yeah. Welcome back to dadAWESOME. My name is Jeff Zaugg and today, episode 271, I have John Wyatt back for round two. So four and a half years ago, Episode 33, John Wyatt joined and shared his story. His daughters were 13 and 17, at the time. Now he’s got two daughters. They are freshman in college and then his oldest daughter’s into her career and traveling the world. And guys, this is so fun because I love pivot moments. So John and his wife, Carrie, just celebrated 25 years of marriage and they just are in the first kind of six months of being empty nesters, they’re still very much parenting their two girls, their young adult girls, but it’s a new chapter of their daughters being launched and I love that kind of pivot moment to ask questions. I love to go about the task of the week and make it more fun than usual. I think we all could do that. We can turn fatherhood moments into more fun than usual. We can turn marriage moments into more fun than usual. Well, podcast, the same way, you can turn a podcast into more fun than usual. And for John Wyatt and myself, I asked him, I said, Hey, is there any way we can record a podcast while surfing? Can we paddle past the break, sit on our surfboards and record out there in the ocean? Maybe in the future we can, but we decided not to try for that. We want to ruin my recording gear. So instead we decided to walk the beach. So this is a walking interview, a conversation happening while on a long it was well over an hour walk. I trimmed it down to about 40 minutes is what I’m going to share with you guys today. So I’m so thankful this was recorded on a beach and at Hanna Park, Hanna State Park at Jacksonville, Florida, early in the morning. And this is our conversation about the dad life. Welcome to episode 271 with John Wyatt.

John Wyatt: [00:02:34] You know, it is following Jesus, you’re like, you have this ultimate little laboratory at home to be a good Christian. Your every move is met with a countermove, I don’t know, you know, every conversation you have an opportunities to forgive and be gracious and especially with the kids, man. And especially now, like in this season with young adults, you know, there’s been kind of there’s a little bit of a tearing there of tearing and pulling away, you know, and being able to let our kids, even as teenagers, let them grow into who they are, make their own decisions and all that kind of thing. They don’t, Dr. Henry Cloud always says, you know, your kid is not you, your wife is not you.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:12] Yeah.

John Wyatt: [00:03:13] You know, you can’t control them, they they control themselves, you know? So it’s very difficult letting them be young adults and maybe they’re making choices, whereas 25 years down the road you’re like, that’s not a very good decision. But you have to let them decide for themselves and love them through it. It’s been a it’s been a challenge. I’ve loved it. I’ve loved this season of parenting. It’s been harder for my wife because she never wants anybody to get hurt. You have to fight the fear of like if you make that decision, oh, look at what the consequences could be. Whereas I look at it as, man, every failure is a learning opportunity.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:48] So you have an opportunity to control. You could, if you wanted to, or at least to try to form that decision in a way that you think would be better. But you’re saying the education comes through not and through letting that decision to be made by your young adult daughters or teenage daughters if you want to go back a chapter.

John Wyatt: [00:04:06] Yeah, yeah. We tried to do that when they were in high school because they’re still under our roof. The Lord told us to and teach them to be in the world, but not out of it while they’re under our roof, which was difficult, you know, because I was a teenager once, you don’t make very good decisions, when you’re a teenager, you know what I’m talking about. So, you know, we walked through some challenges with our kids. But, you know, I think even as a Christian, we thought, hey, if we just follow, Jesus we’ll avoid all the trouble, right? Everything will just be easy and everything will go perfect. I don’t know where we get that idea.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:04:36] We don’t see that through Jesus life. 

John Wyatt: [00:04:40] No. Oh man, He did everything perfect and they crucified Him, you know what I’m saying? Like, the part of God’s plan for His life was to suffer.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:04:46] Trials, yeah.

John Wyatt: [00:04:46] Oh, my gosh. So, yeah, I’m, you know, we we try to just love our kids through stuff. And the most important thing is relationship. You know, you can be right or you can have a relationship. So instead of trying to be right all the time and defend your decisions or defend, you need to do this, and here’s why, because I know what I’m talking about. We didn’t find that that worked very well with our kids. I don’t know if it worked for somebody, but it didn’t work for us.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:05:11] That would be a common theme. And you brought up move, countermove, move, countermove. So it kind of a chess analogy, maybe, of you just don’t know what the next you just don’t know what’s coming. Can you take that analogy a little further to, to this parallel of choose to be right or choose the relationship. Any, any examples of like this is something that you or even go real specific of a story that you didn’t see something coming, but through that, like playing it out and choosing relationship, you you saw it was God’s better plan versus versus you having it all dialed in your own way.

John Wyatt: [00:05:50] Yeah. You know, I’ve mentioned that my oldest daughter was a model. You know, my plan for her was to get a D-1 volleyball scholarship and go to college and she’s six foot or she was a as a sophomore. We were club volleyball, starting outside or right side.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:06:06] intimidating.

John Wyatt: [00:06:07] About sophomore year in a good high school that’s producing D1 athletes on the volleyball court. You know, she like she was on that path.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:06:13] Sure.

John Wyatt: [00:06:14] And it just didn’t go that way. The opportunity that came for her was to do this modeling deal. And it was basically, long story short, she got discovered by a scout at volleyball tournament. 100,000 tall, athletic girls there, came right up to my wife and grabbed her. So, you know, it’s like winning the lottery, you can’t make this stuff happen. And so we just as we prayed through all of that and then when it came time to making decision, she got a she got a full academic ride to the University of Florida. You know, how do you give up your 100% of tuition? You know what I’m saying, like, how do you give up your full ride to an exclusive school to go model? You know, to me, you know, we could have been more controlling and said, No, you’re going to do this because it’s more traditional, safe, this is the more predictable path. Or you could look at this unique opportunity that God’s opened up for you that, you know, millions of other girls do not have. We’ve been training you to be in the world, but not of it. I personally like I was, I was a bartender as a Christian. I was a Christian missionary. You know what I’m saying? I was out there and I wasn’t a traditional believer, so I watched that play out in my oldest daughter’s life and letting God take her down that path and letting her make the decisions and follow that road, it’s been awesome. So then over the last few years, as an adult, making good decisions, bad decisions, but being there with her through the whole thing. The most important thing again, relationship, like making sure communication was good, making sure that they wanted to talk to us. Not like you better call me, but like, do they actually want to call me? Do they actually want to call mom? It’s hard because they kind of shoot a text here and there, but you want to process with them and love them and talk with them, but you really have to set the table for that and invite them to it.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:04] And it feels like there was decisions in junior high and elementary school that probably started the trajectory of choosing the relationship versus choosing what you think is right. And I mean, just to go real kind of straight to the heart level, I made the decision not to play college basketball and it actually severed relationship with my dad for several months. He was so disappointed with that decision that we kind of no contact for several months of just disappointment. We we worked through that pain later and I’m so grateful that he came back and apologized. But like that, like when I think about that moment and you having that same kind of moment, do this, do that, you kind of had your right, and yet you stayed in relationship and you stayed like supportive. And I’m sure you didn’t play it all perfect, but you chose that that path. Can you think of anything you did earlier on? So even in my chapter of Dad life with younger kids that started the preparing you to stay kind of soft and towards relationship but also like earned trust with your your girls that this is who I am as dad?

John Wyatt: [00:09:14] Man, good question, brother. You know, I made the decision early on to prioritize my family. I know everybody’s got different career paths, different demands and responsibilities on your time, but I’m, you know, my, my degrees in interdisciplinary science and mathematics and yet I ended up a pastor. I was going to be a coastal engineer or I wanted to be a, I want to be in the pharmaceutical industry, make a bunch of money, someday retire in a ministry like that was my plan and it just didn’t it didn’t go that way. And I made that choice. I remember thinking as I graduated college and started, I had some great interviews and God was starting to guide a little bit and show me the decisions. One of the things that was an option to me was I had this nonprofit that we had started, and I knew that if I raised a salary and became like a full time worker in that ministry, it would grow. I remember, God, you know, offering it to me and saying, you know, you can do whatever you want, but if you want to, here’s this unique opportunity that I’m giving you. that other people in the world don’t have. If you want to take it, you can. And so I did. And one of the reasons I knew that it was the right thing to do is it would provide me the flexibility to always be present with my kids and build my time around being present for them. I can work on my own time or when they’re asleep or whatever. I could always be there for bedtime. I could always be there for every athletic event and every school performance. And I could show up at school and I could drop them off at school. I mean, me and my youngest daughter still have memories of she being like three years old, going to like preschool in the backseat of the car and we’d always fight about who could see the steeple on preschool first.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:10:53] First. Yes.

John Wyatt: [00:10:53] But she still remembers that stuff at 19.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:10:56] So you had a choice to work for the machine or the climb this ladder over here that would’ve been more rigid. And that was one of the reasons you chose to to take a risk and to maybe go the less profit driven trajectory was was for flexibility for your family.

John Wyatt: [00:11:11] It was one of the primary reasons, yeah. I’m kind of an all in guy, you know, brother, I’m like an all in, like, whatever I do, I’m all in.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:11:19] I know that is true.

John Wyatt: [00:11:20] Oh my gosh. So I feel like, you know, if I, if I was all in, in pharmaceutical sales or something like that, I’m going to be the best pharmaceutical salesman. I’m going to sell more than everybody else. I’m very competitive. I’m going to go for it. I’m full throttle all the time, which would mean in that industry being on the road all the time, away from home, you know. I know everybody’s got their own path and they have to, they have to figure it out, but I think that’s been one of the values that’s guided my decision making over the years is I want to be present for everything for my kids. And so I ended up where I ended up, you know, I ended up a pastor in at a great church, and I’ve been able to make a big difference in my community. Be in ministry now 26 years, you know, I’m pretty happy. I was there for everything for my kids, Like mission accomplished there, you know, I’m fired up.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:12:05] So presence was one of the things that led to, you know, having a schedule that allowed you to be there for those moments led to a higher trust so that you could you could make a loving decision for relationship instead of maybe a a controlling one.

John Wyatt: [00:12:21] I think so, brother. I think you know what I’m talking about, man, because you obviously prioritize your family and being with your kids and there’s nothing better and you have to make some sacrifices for it, but it’s worth it. And I know people that in the pharmaceutical industry, they’re great parents and they’re for everything. But my path, the way it worked out for me, I’m glad I’m where I’m at today. You know, I plan out, I’m a planner to, the unpredictable road wasn’t the easiest. But I do, I kind of block out my decades, like, what do I want to be doing in my thirties, my forties, my fifties, my sixties, like I’m planning my seventies now, which is why I’m doing the Spartan race with you.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:12:58] Well, we got to talk about that, so good transition.

John Wyatt: [00:13:01] I want to I want to stay healthy and athletic all of my life.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:13:04] Well, you’re…

John Wyatt: [00:13:05] So I’ll push myself physically.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:13:07] So already, it was kind of on your heart before I made the phone call and said, what do you think? So it just is a set up, I, after four years of leading Fathers for the Fatherless and these 100 mile bike rides, we’ve been curious around what would it look like to try a different type of event, to engage different types of dads, men and the obstacle course race, the elite of the elite when it comes to those races are the Spartan. And then instead of a sprint, a Spartan sprint, which is kind of the entry level, we said, let’s jump right to a super Spartan.

John Wyatt: [00:13:38] Yeah, a 10K.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:13:39] Yeah, 10K, 25 obstacles, it’s so it’s tomorrow right at this time, so at the time we’re recording, 24 hours from now, we’re going after it. And I was so thankful you said yes. And I want to go after that principle, first, of when the invite comes, like just paying attention to is this maybe a a thing that you could be a local champion for? There’s a lot of guys who think only through their own filter of what’s what’s for me? What do I want? What are my goals? And I know you said it did tie with one of your personal goals, but to say, hey, I’ll I’ll invite other people to this. I’ll actually like go beyond myself. I think one of the moves that like to get men, to get dads to take ground in the area of fatherlessness, specifically, but also just like, being a light to our communities, right? Like, like just being leaders on the home front and in our neighborhoods, like I think is people saying yes and saying, I’ll help you build this thing and you said, you’re that guy down here. So I wanted to say thank you. And when this drops, we’ll be after the Spartan and hopefully we’re both still, you know, walking and healthy. But I wanted to bring up why did you say yes and why did that the mission of Fathers for the Fatherless stir, stir you do to saying I’m in, I’m all in.

John Wyatt: [00:14:55] That’s great. You know, I’m a pastor and you know, I love you and you know, I love our kids, you know? I always look at, you know, as Christians, we’re a role modeling for everyone around us. As dads, we role model for everyone, for our kids, our family. You can’t tell somebody get saved, You know that, You have to model the love of Jesus. And then they get attracted to that and they wonder what it is about you. So I always think, you know, I’m in modeling mode, especially as a pastor, my goal, my job isn’t to just tell people what to do. That’s manipulation, it’s witchcraft, you know what I’m saying? So I know it’s a strong word, but like telling people what to do, you know, you can tell them the Bible, but end they have to have the revelation of, okay, I’m going to choose that over what I want to do.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:38] Versus controlling and telling.

John Wyatt: [00:15:39] Yeah, yeah. For sure.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:40] You need to show.

John Wyatt: [00:15:42] Yeah. Show, man, I just want to demonstrate. So to me, like, and social media’s been great for that for me just in my church, just being able to demonstrate, Hey, here’s how I love my kids, here’s I love my wife, here’s how I get involved in the community and different things. I’m constantly raising money for different mission trips or different things, different organizations that I believe in. And so it was awesome to be able to put up there Fathers for the Fatherless, kind of spotlight that. Our church is able to see it, see what we’re doing. And, you know, we partner obviously with venture on a global level, but then to have a local partner too, which is Seymour Grants for us here, that’s one of our big partners in the city of Jacksonville to help at risk youth. And so, you know, our local portion of what we raise is going to go toward that. It kind of puts a spotlight on one of our local partners.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:16:30] Our global partner. It’s kind of the the second partner that we have with with Fathers for the Fatherless is is Venture, as you mentioned, specifically these orphanages in Southeast Asia. A lot of focus has been Myanmar since the civil war and it went crazy two years ago, and the amount of kids that are fatherless. And so it’s food, shelter, it’s education. And so that is part of people hear about Fathers for the Fatherless and they’re like, oh, it must be, it’s just guys doing epic things, 100 miles, you know, this triathlon that that Spartan and sometimes that the hard physical is actually the easy thing. Some of the guys, in fact, you recruited a couple of guys that are like stud athletes. Right. It’s funny, I, I went I went big on who I invited to challenge myself to try to keep up with them.

John Wyatt: [00:17:13] You invited some ringers, bro. Some rockstars.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:17:15] Exactly. So part of that though is the hard might be the fundraising. So for some of us it’s actually asking and sharing the vision that that breaks my heart, a vision that I’ve connected my heart to and now I’m inviting other people to give. So there’s there’s kind of there’s multiple sides that is that could be the challenge point. But we’ve just seen over four years God do some pretty special things through this these teams. And so thanks for helping us forge into a new category of events. 

John Wyatt: [00:17:41] My pleasure for sure. Man, generosity is a big part of being a Christian. I don’t know, I’m sure you agree. It’s the hardest thing, I think, to teach and cultivate in people. I think that’s what the Lord, you know, like tithing and giving and offerings and just being open handed with whatever money you have so God can continue to provide you more. It’s one of the greatest things you can cultivate in people to help them follow Jesus. So it’s not just the preachers up there asking for money for the building program. It’s cultivating a heart of generosity in our churches and our followers and in our communities, right. So that we can be more like Jesus because he’s the ultimate example of generosity. I don’t put my money, my name or my platform on everything, but when it is for something that I really truly believe in. I don’t mind asking people for money, I’m like, Hey, the Lord needs the donkey. Remember that? He goes, they’re going in, they’re going, Hey, the Lord is going to come in and make the prophetic entrance into Jerusalem. And he just says, Go down there, untie that colt and if they ask anybody, if anybody ask, just tell them the Lord needs it. The Lord needs the money. Let’s go.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:18:39] That story is fantastic. Because it’s such an unlikely thing to ask for or need. Yet it was part of that like it’s continuing like we’re talking about right now. So game changer, humble entry but still needed something. And someone was want to give.

John Wyatt: [00:18:54] Somebody gave it up.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:18:55] Yeah. What did so you’re your daughter, your youngest daughter’s driving up from school to cheer and then right back to family weekend at school. Right? So she’s cheering, she knows that you’re doing Fathers for the Fatherless, Spartan, but that your girls know this is part of who you are, is I’m for causes that are at the center of God’s heart. I’m for living a generous life. How, besides watching and modeling, any like ways that you, when they were younger or even today, like, helped them grow a heart for generosity?

John Wyatt: [00:19:27] Wow. That’s a great question, too. Like, we always taught them to tithe and and so they would always they’d get five bucks or something and they’d give $0.50. They get $10, give, put a dollar, like they always would bring their offerings. That principle of, hey, a portion of everything God gives you, you need to return to the Lord. It’s not all yours, and they’re just this little part that God says, Hey, this will cultivate a heart of generosity if you put this into practice. You know, tithing and giving can become very legalistic. People want to know, Hey, how much is how much do I need to do? What’s my minimum you know, so they can just meet the threshold so God’s not mad at them. That’s not generosity. Like, generosity is like, Hey, how much does the Holy Spirit say that I should give to this person? Or, you know, it’s cultivating that heart, that I watched them over the years, I mean, they still tithe. Like my daughter will get a check from modeling and I’ll notice that she cut a check to the church because we can see their accounts, you know. I’ll notice that right away she gives the church. She asked me, she was working in Miami, she’s like, Hey, is it is it good if, like, like I want to give up, like, Celebration’s my church, I want to give there, but is it okay if I take a portion of what I’m giving and give it to this local food bank? Because I really like this local food bank I want to support, I’m going to go do like a project where I deliver food, is it okay if I give money to? A good dad moment, you know, I was like, baby you just let the Lord lead you, you know?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:20:45] Yeah, no, there’s no rules here. Just have fun giving.

John Wyatt: [00:20:48] So happy, man. And they’re both like that. They’re super generous. Praise God. You know, money can be so controlling. Such a point of contention. Obviously, we all need it, and we can do good things with it. But I’m glad it doesn’t control their lives. Glad Jesus does that.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:21:09] yeah. You told the story back four and a half years ago, the last time we chatted on this podcast about your girls moments where they were kind of like a little bit like not seeing eye to eye and like going after it a little bit. You know, my girls, I’m in that window for sure, for sure. So I want you to even potentially it’s the same coaching you did with me, four and a half years ago. Well, I’m still pressing in. I haven’t, I haven’t solved it. So your advice back then has not has not been a silver bullet for me, but I want to press in and show love, but also show like like listening to God’s voice, listening to Dad and Mom’s voice, honoring your parents. That was kind of the principle that was behind.

John Wyatt: [00:21:50] It was honor and obey.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:21:51] Yes. Honor and obey, yes.

John Wyatt: [00:21:54] We just go back to that little song. Like we just talked a little song. What’s God say? Honor and obey your mom and dad. I single a little song, you know. It’s like you got to choose your battles with your kids. You know, You can’t tell them no to everything they do wrong because you just be all you be is “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” So, you know, we chose our battles. Like, what’s the hill we’re going to die on? It was honor and obey your mom and dad, because that’s the first commandment with a promise, right? And says that you’ll live a long life in the land that’s Old and New Testament. He says it in Ephesians 6, as well. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:22:26] Yes.

John Wyatt: [00:22:26] So we tell them we want you to live a long, happy life. So we’re going to, God wants you to honor and obey your parents. We love you. All God ask is that you would honor and obey us. We won’t be over demanding of you, but we do ask that you honor. So whenever they would get bowed up at Mama or something like that, I’m not going to, I need to be on Mom’s side, you know what I’m saying? Like, No, that’s that’s poor behavior because you’re not honoring your parents. Your parents, we love you. We’re here for you, supporting you, doing what’s best for you. We’re doing our very best, we’re not always getting it right. But you need to honor us and let us be your parents. And when they wouldn’t do that, those were the kind of things that we corrected around. So when they were little, it was a song. What’s God say? Honor and obey your mom and dad. I’d like, Sing it to them, and they’d be like, Oh, go, so mad, you know? But then they knew.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:23:15] It’s not your rule. It’s a rule given to us as parents, by our Heavenly Father.

John Wyatt: [00:23:20] Yeah. We got a problem with it then take it up with Jesus. I don’t know what to tell you, the Bible says it. So you’re not fighting against me, you’re fighting against God here. You know?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:23:32] It’s funny, I smiled when you shared it last time, I smiled again, because it’s it’s so hard to live out. It’s so like to bring consistency in that area and for even you know me to continue to show honor to my wife, to continue to show like, they’re there seeing me at my weakest moments. At my most inconsistent moments, my girls see me right there.

John Wyatt: [00:23:52] Dude, you’re living for the last year and a half, in close quarters with your four daughters under a microscope. You know what I’m saying? And how you treat your wife, for real. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:24:01] Yeah.

John Wyatt: [00:24:02] You’re a champion, Bro.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:24:03] Well, a champion that stumbles often. As I’ve been real open with on the podcast in depth, but yet still like wanting to bring like what’s the most important thing. And I think you’re getting after like one of the very most important things. We, we wrote out Deuteronomy chapter six about just like listening to God’s Word and writing it on our foreheads and on the wall like we we are loving the Lord God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. We talked about the Spartan with strength this morning with my nine year old, so we’re like, we’re going after it, but yet sometimes it feels like there’s a hundred things we could add as as parents, there’s 100 things we could add intentionality to. And that’s what I like about the simplicity of what you’re sharing is like, Here’s one that make it an anchor. Do you have any any other feel like, man, young dads, these are things to put more focus on. Like, like this is don’t don’t look at 100 things to add, this is one or two? Any top of mind, advice, encouragement, ways you even challenge us?

John Wyatt: [00:25:05] Yeah, man. I don’t I don’t know who first said this quote, but like love is the only non-negotiable. Everything else is a conversation. Love is the only non-negotiable, everything else is conversation. Like we’re supposed to be loving with our wives, with our kids. And, you know, when we have disagreements, we can talk about that. We don’t see eye to eye, we can talk about that, we can work through it, we can work through anything. But we’re called to love, as Christians were called love. In a vacuum, just as a Christian, if I was single, just me as a follower of Jesus, a Son of the most high, I’m called to love. How much more so in my family? You know, so being very loving when you’re your tone’s not loving, you’re out of order, you need to get that back under the control of Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit, love, first one. Right? Man, being humble enough to be able to let the Holy Spirit correct you when you’re wrong, when you’re dealing with your six year old and you know they’re wrong and you’re right, but you’re wrong because you’re using the wrong tone and you’re being intimidating and trying to bully her to do what you think she should do or he should do. Right? So instead of being loving, lovingly inviting them, I just think that’s the biggest thing we can model for our kids because we what do we want them to do? We don’t want them to be Christians. Air quotes. You can’t see them, but you don’t just want them to be Christians, we want them to love God and have a relationship with their Heavenly Father. And you can only do that by modeling love. So we don’t always get it right and that’s where forgiveness, like you’re like, the loving thing to do is to, hey, I’m sorry and apologize to your little baby. You know, I got this wrong. Daddy got it wrong. You know this. I’m sure, sure, sure of apologizing. Again, you’re in your little laboratory, you’re mobile laboratory. Man, daddy got it wrong. So sorry.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:26:53] It’s funny you’re mentioning apologizing because we’re walking, actually we’re not far from the spot, yesterday, I was just crabby with my girls about helping to carry stuff off the beach. And I’m like, they were cold, they were in the water, they’re holding their towels, like we can’t carry stuff, because we have our towels around, we’re cold. And I was just barking at them, like, right here. And and then we got up to the Ford Flex in the parking lot, and actually, it was not my own doing, my wife’s like, Your tone is so sharp. Your tone is so sharp.

John Wyatt: [00:27:24] That’s good feedback. That’s good feedback. That’s the Holy Spirit talking through your wife. Hey, you’re tone’s a little sharp there, buddy.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:27:30] And it wasn’t, it wasn’t, she wasn’t talking down to me. She really was speaking the truth in love. So good. So right on the asphalt, right there on the spot, I apologize to my two littles because they’re the only ones I was really barking at. And they both forgave me. And I did sense a rush of peace return to our family. Like I I think you kind of like when I go sharp, when I do something that I need to ask for forgiveness, I’m almost winding up tighter and tighter. And like the peace that returned, to even my physical body, when I said I was sorry, and the little eyes looked up at me and said, we forgive you dad. Like, yeah, so there’s an example, within the last 16 hours.

John Wyatt: [00:28:11] You’re doing it for them to like, imagine if you as a child had learned how to say, I forgive you and release people of their debt. You owe me an apology. You treated me wrong. But then you’re going to come to me and you’re going to apologize. It’s up to me to say I forgive you and release you of the debt. You’re saying, please forgive me, doesn’t release you of the debt like they’re releasing you by saying I forgive you. So that was a big part for us with our kids, I would own my mistakes and but I would actually I would say, do you forgive me? And I still do this with them and with my wife. You know, Do you forgive me? Will you forgive me and invite them into that conversation? It keeps things at peace.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:28:52] Any, you’ve used the the the language laboratory a few times, which is it feels so real. The laboratory, the size of a shipping container that I live in, the laboratory. The dad life laboratory, we actually tried to create a dadAWESOME dashboard a couple of times of like you think of the lab person with all the readings, like, How’s it going? How’s this? How’s that? And I don’t think it exists, at least not a one size fits all dashboard of like, How’s it going, being dadAWESOME. But when you think of a laboratory, what, any ideas for tests? Because that’s what you do in a lab and test things. Hypothesis, I think this would be the case but let’s test it. Any, any ideas, I know I’m putting you on the spot here, but for laboratory tests around the dad life on How, how’s it going? How, like a little audit. It’s almost, almost an audit mentality. Any ideas of what a dad could be testing to know if if the trajectory is the way that they’re going to wish it was when they’re there? 

John Wyatt: [00:29:50] Man, that’s a good question. I love that because I’m very systematic in my approach to a lot of things. So that’s speaking my language. I guess I could just share like the things that I would have on mine. Like this is what I would call the communication piece. You know, like we talked about the communication piece. Are my kids, are they open to come to me and to have conversations with me? Or am I scaring them away by my responses? You know, that was, I mean, we all say that like, hey, it’d be better if you told me, but you can say that and deliver that and set that framework up in a way that they’ll never come to you because they’re afraid to disappoint. Performance based, I failed. That’s just been my biggest challenge, so I’m always going after my my girls, trying to pull them in the, like, what’s going on in your heart? Tell me about it. Even, even like so, my oldest broke up with the boyfriend, and so we went on Daddy daughter Date, she’s like, I don’t want to talk about it. You know? So we went on a Daddy Daughter Date, had a great time at hawkers, went to shoot pool afterwards. We’re together a few hours, having a great time and got back to the house and then she was ready to talk you know.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:01] So it was the pursuing her and then not being pushy.

John Wyatt: [00:31:04] Yeah. As opposed to, you know, you need to do this. And it’s so easy to do because honestly, I didn’t like the situation. She’ll probably listen to this. I didn’t like the situation she was in. But it’s her decision. You know, ultimately, I’m robbing her of her dignity if I don’t allow her to make her own choices.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:23] Did you let her win in pool?

John Wyatt: [00:31:25] No. I never let my kids win anything. They have to earn it and they know it and they try. She’s getting better and better. She’ll beat me one day.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:32] Even in the moment of feeling sad. 

John Wyatt: [00:31:34] No, no, no. They know better because when they win, they do win sometimes, ping pong, different things. I got beat in ping pong by my youngest over Christmas. When they win, they know it’s I didn’t give it to them.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:45] I cut you off though when I asked about letting her win. You were about to say, like, her dignity… 

John Wyatt: [00:31:50] Yeah, yeah. I don’t want take your dignity away. You’re the one making decisions, this is your life your living.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:54] Yeah.

John Wyatt: [00:31:54] I’m just here as a mentor at this point, but I’m a mentor that you can trust and who cares for you. So that communication piece, you know, are you spending time with them? Are they willing to spend time with you? That’s my word, that would be on my dashboard for sure. Two of my most important things in this season of life is communication.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:32:10] Time.

John Wyatt: [00:32:11] Time like, especially when they’re younger. I always liked, there was kind of this, you know, everything’s always changing in the world of social behavior, but so there was kind of this breakup of kids like from 0 to 8, they really, you kind of need to parent them one way. From 8 to 12, in that transition, you have a different set of tools. And then, you know, 13, teenage years and then as adults, so I have changed a bit. If I look back over all of them, though, it was the communication piece. But like we talked about earlier, being there and being present. Do an audit of your time and your life and saying, you know, am I, if I asked to them, would they say I’m prioritizing them? You know, do I miss the important moments? And that takes self-reflection, you know. A lot times you’re like, but I’m I’m building my career, they don’t understand, they’re going to thank me later. You know, I got to making college money, 529 has got to get filled. You know, you’re thinking all your responsibilities as a dad, but one of the things you can miss is the present. You can mortgage the present for the future. So I would rather be as present as possible when they’re young. Oh, my goodness, because then now I’m here. They’re not around that much.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:33:25] Yeah. Yeah, proximity is limited versus I get a lot of it right now. And often my heart can say, yeah, I get too much of it right now, I need some breaks. But that’s going to come soon. It’s going to come soon.

John Wyatt: [00:33:36] Dude, it’ll fly by. It feels like 2 minutes has gone by since they were babies. I know that’s cliché, but it really does.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:33:43] As you think forward to your girls eventually being moms and being married and having husbands, like like when you think of those guys and maybe a chance to walk the same beach with these guys as they prepare to be young dads. Say, say that they stumble upon this podcast or they don’t have to because they can walk with you and hear from your heart about where to put extra intention, where to kind of like, Hey, these are some things that’ll help you step into dad life. You got a lot of young dads that listen to dadAWESOME. What are some of the things for your son in law is like so really deeply, like on the home front, you would want them to to hear from your heart, if they’re asking, not to push on them, but they’re asking, Hey, how how can we step into this journey of being a dad?

John Wyatt: [00:34:32] You better treat my baby girl right. Gosh dog, you better treat my baby girl, right. My hope is that my daughters, they know how they’re supposed to be treated, if they’re being treated with love. And I’m, it kind of comes back to that, you know, we can all have different goals in marriage, different goals in life. I don’t know, in counseling they always say that communication and expectation are the two things you got to get right in a relationship. So being clear on expectations. My expectation, I think I shared this on the podcast last time, my expectation for my family is we have this kind of vision statement that we love God, serve others, wins souls and have fun. I also have, for the husbands, we been praying for for decades now, the little filter I gave my girls was that they have to love Jesus. They have to have a vision for their life and a great education. Otherwise don’t even bring them by, they’re probably not the guy. You know, so obviously you can’t do that when you’re 12.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:35:27] yeah, right. 

John Wyatt: [00:35:27] You’re not there yet, so it’s not time yet. And so as they get older now, they’re looking for they’d kind of know the criteria. They know that this person is going to treat me right. They’re going to love Jesus. It’s not just that they’re going to be Christian. Guys that love Jesus, like, I don’t know how anybody can be a good husband if you don’t love Jesus. It’s so like you have to sacrifice yourself so much to be a really good husband and dad. You have to, you have to really be in that mode. That has to be deeply ingrained in one of your greatest values is to serve others. And I don’t know how anybody can do it just in our flesh, we’re just so self-centered. And so following Jesus is number one. Loving Jesus, follow Jesus, not because you have to, because you want to. That’s love, you know, Can’t be forced. To have a vision for your life. Like, really know, You don’t have to have all the answers, nobody knows the future but God, but really be just not sitting around, you know, playing video games in your underwear in the basement of your mom’s house, you know, hoping that someday, you know, you’ll connect with a hot girl. You know what I’m saying?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:36:27] There’s a direction, there’s intention. There’s like, yeah, you have some passions and fire in me. I’ve got a got a vision. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John Wyatt: [00:36:34] Like there’s some, there’s motivation I’m self motivate, I’m going to pursue goals and I’m going to pursue some excellence, some level of excellence with my life.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:36:41] Versus coasting.

John Wyatt: [00:36:42] Yeah. Versus just I’m going to see how little I can get away with.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:36:45] It’s funny, you’re actually here’s, I had to go surfing for a second. The parallels between surfing real waves and wake surfing, riding a boat. There’s a generation of young men who don’t have to work for the waves. Wake surfing behind a boat, there’s no paddle, there’s no battle, There’s no…

John Wyatt: [00:36:59] Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:37:00] Fighting whitewash, there’s no risk in sharks.

John Wyatt: [00:37:03] Oh my gosh. No doubt. Goodness.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:37:07] You want your son in laws to be the guys who have done the work and who care. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Keep going.

John Wyatt: [00:37:11] Yeah, I’m with you, man. That drive, you know, that that’s something. The X-Factor about a guy, that somebody that’s not performance based, not, you know, at all costs, I must win, not competitive to a fault but being driven and motivated. You know, and a great education. It’s just man if you can get educated, if you can submit to teaching and submit to mentoring and learn from the wisdom of those who’ve gone before you, it says something about your character. So those, that’s why I chose those and for 20 years we prayed for that and shared that with our girls, this is who you’re looking for. You’re not just looking for some guy, cute guy with washboard abs, those go away.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:37:50] They do. Unless you do a lot of Spartans, which I haven’t done enough, so there’s, they still went away. Okay so if that’s baseline, love Jesus. They have a vision, they have a great education. Now they’re walking with you, these guys that have these three things are walking with you and now they’re saying, Give me the next three things as a young dad. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, but any type of mind like, okay, now I’m gonna add three more things so these guys, they can they can move towards not not arriving, but move towards.

John Wyatt: [00:38:17] Love it, man, I love it. One of the big things for me was in marriage, everything in parenting really kind of revolves around marriage. I know there’s a lot of single dads, a lot of single parents out there, they’re doing an incredible job. There’s a lot of challenges associated with that. Like the ideal, like the the easy, the easier path would be have a great strong marriage. And we have two people, a father and a mother working together, parenting the children. So, you know, you got to keep focused on your marriage. I’ve seen a lot of families break up because they’re so focused on the kids, the marriage falls apart, you know. So continually date, if you’re going to date my daughter, man, never stop dating her. You know, what I’m saying? Once you’re married, you better not stop dating, man, you better keep loving her and pursuing her and, you know, constantly keep, I just serve as much as I can, serve my wife. You know, I’ve found that that worked for me in every season of life. It’s not always easy. And it doesn’t always, it’s not always what you want to do, but I think that’s what service is all about. You’re sacrificing something of yourself to invest it in others. So prioritizing your your wife makes you a better parent, prepares you for life, I think it makes you better in every area of your life. Better Christian, better worker, a better leader in every aspect of life, you know, when you’re serving your wife at the right level. So get ready to serve, so Jesus did not come to serve or to be served, but to serve others and to give his life is a ransom for many. Take that into marriage. Oh, my goodness. Aspire to that. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:39:44] Your advice to the young dads is to, like, really focus marriage, serve your wife, pursue your wife, date your wife. That’s going to make you on the path of being dadAWESOME. Any other dad advice for those those young men, those young son in laws? [

John Wyatt: [00:39:59] Oh, yes. Dude, you’re going to make it. I think I’ve got a bunch of my friends there at the church, younger pastors, and they’re all having babies right now.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:40:07] You’re reminding them, it’s going to be okay.

John Wyatt: [00:40:09] It’s going to be all right. Like, it’s so joyful, you know, like even those first few months were just lots of sleeplessness. I mean, there’s ups and there’s downs. I think in a lot of situations, I don’t know if you agree, like when the going gets tough, people like, get out. You know, that’s not family, that’s not that’s not marriage, that’s not parenting. You’re in it for the long haul. Highs, lows, the good, the bad, the ugly. You’re in it for the whole thing. So, walking with your wife through things, walking with your kids through things, as opposed to trying to prevent them from doing the wrong thing. There’s money in that, man. There’s money in that in every season of life, you know, you’re walking with them through it and God’s put you there to do that. That’s the cool thing, like he’s assigned you to your post. Your post is with this wife and with these kids. And He knows what he wants to get done in their lives, through you. And so just staying at your post, man, never leaving your post, faithful to the end, man, like you’re always there for your wife and your kids. I think that that’s made my life easy, to be honest, it sounds hard. But isn’t that like the upside down king of the Jesus, you know, that like whoever wants to be first must be left alone.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:41:16] Get low, get low, get low. 

John Wyatt: [00:41:17] Whoever wants to be a leader among men, you better serve. You better wash feet.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:41:24] John, this is so helpful and practical. Like, sometimes when I have conversations with with dads in the empty nest or the, you know, recently into a different phase of adult kids, it’s harder to go as practical. So thank you for your passion and practicality of like, these are ways all of us can, I mean, I’ve got I’ve got so many things from this conversation that are just for me and Michelle and our four year girl. So I want to thank you for this time. Thanks for taking a walk with me and talking dad life.

John Wyatt: [00:41:53] This is the best, bro. Best podcast interview ever. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:41:53] Would you say a prayer over all the dads listening?

John Wyatt: [00:41:57] Oh, love to you. Heavenly Father, We love you and just thank you so much for a wow, you’re the best, Heavenly Father, you’re an incredible Father. Lord, I think you that that’s in your very nature. Yahweh, like the part of you as a father, it’s amazing. And we have so much to learn, but we have the best teacher, um, the best role model in our Heavenly Father. And we’ll never attain perfection, God. Help us to be filled with grace, your grace is sufficient, but I pray a blessing over every single one of the dads listening that they would be filled with courage and confidence, knowing they have everything they need to accomplish everything you called them to. I pray they’d be inspired and courage and to step out and to really make that a goal, to be a great husband, to be great dad. So, so often those things don’t carry value because they don’t earn you money, very often, I don’t know, God just bless them. I don’t know. There’s a word for somebody. Just bless us, Lord, bless us as fathers, bless us as husbands. And I just pray for your Holy Spirit to rise up inside of us. You’ve given us everything we need for life and godliness through your spirit. So God continues to give all these dads everything that they need. God, fill them with love and joy and peace for their families. In Jesus name, Amen.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:43:13] Thank you so much for joining us for episode 271 with John Wyatt. We mentioned the Spartan, Fathers for the Fatherless race that we did about a month ago in Jacksonville, Florida. If you guys want to learn anything more information about Fathers for the Fatherless, our cycling events, our triathlon events, our future Spartan events, go to the show notes today and I’ll have links to all that information. The show notes today are dadAWESOME.org/271. Guys, thank you for choosing to listen. Thank you for choosing to pursue the intentional dad life. Thank you for choosing to say it’s not my ways, it’s not my strength, I’m going to rely on God and His power working within me to be dadAWESOME for my family. Guys, I’m cheering for you guys. I’m praying for you. Have a great week.