Episode 272 Transcript (Tanner Clark)

Episode 272 (Tanner Clark)

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] Welcome back to dadAWESOME. Today, episode 272, is with Tanner Clark. I’ll introduce him in just a second here. But wanted to remind you guys, Fathers for the Fatherless, this mission that we’ve been going after for five years now. We’re heading into our fifth summer, we have an event on August 5th in Minnesota. We have a triathlon team launching and then we have other cities dropping event details soon. So guys, go to f4f.bike, f4f.bike to learn about joining this mission. Well over 600 men have been a part of this mission. We celebrate we’ve raised over $700,000 for local and global partners who are directly serving the fatherless. And this mission, we just know what’s at the center of God’s heart and we can’t wait to see more of you men joining this mission. So check it out at f4f.bike. Let’s jump into today’s conversation, Tanner Clark, I was introduced to him through my friends at ARO. So Heath and Joey connected me with Tanner. He’s a passionate dude. Tanner has four kids and he’s just, he’s just like, Man, I am not slowing down, I’m going to bring encouragement and motivation to schools all over and through social media. He’s bringing resources and encouragement to teenagers and to parents. And we specifically dive in, at the second half of this conversation, into five books every parent should read and he unpacks these five books. He’s kind of curated a list, specifically around the teenage brain and around screens and social media and these books, I can’t wait to dive into reading some of these. I haven’t read any of these five books yet, but he kind of explains why and maybe we’ll help you choose which of these books is right for you. So today, Episode 272, my conversation with Tanner Clark.

Tanner Clark: [00:02:29] We live in Midway, Utah. A small little, I don’t know, one light, 5,000 people town, just away from away from people, which is exactly what I need, I think.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:02:39] Yes. And when you say we give us the landscape, your family, kind of age range, how many kiddos, how long you’ve been married?

Tanner Clark: [00:02:45] Yeah. So we’ve been married, my wife, Danny, we’ve been married 19 years almost. We have four kids, 16 year old girl, a 13 year old boy, a 10 year old girl and a little 7, almost 8, turns 8 next week, 8 year old boy. And for some reason, he’s funny. He’s he’s like this quirky kid. His name is Beckett. But like two or three years ago, he decided his name was Bob. And he tells literally everybody seriously, his classmates, his teachers, everybody calls him Bob. And it’s really still weird when people come to the door and they’re like, Hey, is Bob here? And I’m like, Who? Who is Bob? Anyway, so we’ve got a little Bob and then we got… 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:28] Beckett’s the cool name though, Beckett’s like the cool name, and he subbed it out for Bob.

Tanner Clark: [00:03:33] Yeah. He’s Beck right, like, like such a cool name. We felt like we gave him the best name and he’s Bob and I don’t, I don’t get it, but he just, he just embraces it. One day he had to give he was asked to give a little talk at church in the little primary class. And and he’s like, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. And I said, if you do it, and our family calls him Beckett, but I said, If you do it, I will call you Bob for one week.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:04:02] I was going to say, how long? Yeah, one week. 

Tanner Clark: [00:04:03] It was one week. And he was like, I’m in. And he gave a little talk and every time I messed up and called him Beckett, he was like, Dad, it’s Bob. I was like, sorry bud. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:04:14] I haven’t heard this story before, and this is brand new. Although my dad, he was 20 years younger than his older siblings, so he was like, Whoa, surprise and my dad’s in heaven now, he loves the story. He his name was Jean, but basically from the moment he was born, his older siblings were like, What? We’re not calling him Jean, we’re calling him Chuck. But they renamed him Chuck. And and it stuck. I mean, he never went by Jean in his entire life. So those are the only two times I’ve heard a story like that.

Tanner Clark: [00:04:40] It’s so weird. It’s so weird. But yeah, so we’ve got four kids and then we’ve got a little puppy, golden retriever, his name is Putter, like the golf club. And he turns one next month and he’s he’s not little by any means. He’s he’s about 70 pounds at this point and just getting bigger every day. So…

Jeff Zaugg: [00:05:00] Okay. Amazing. Now, if your kids were going to introduce you, what are some of the words or phrases, what might they say? Good or bad, what are some of the ways they describe, Tanner?

Tanner Clark: [00:05:09] I think that they would, you know, lean into the motivational side, probably I’m a little too motivational all the time. Maybe they need a little less motivation. Sometimes when I drop my kids off at school my, every day, I drop my older two kids off at school. And every once in a while I do these school drop off motivation moments where on, you know, on the Instagram or whatever, I just drop some sort of motivation and they hate it. Like they just hate it. They don’t want to hear from me. And it’s funny with what I do, and I’m sure we’ll get into that, but but like I talk with teens all the time, and that’s what I do. My teens don’t want to listen to me like they’re done with me. So I don’t know, I would just probably it’s probably a little on the motivation side. Hopefully they would say that I’m a dad that’s there, you know, that that’s there for them is what I would hope.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:06:01] Yeah, that presence theme, which we will come back throughout into that a little deeper. My wife and I have been talking about just things that I hope for, for my four girls many times we don’t see. I hope for them, but many times I don’t see this about them or this about them, and I was reminding her that like planting seeds. I just want to be the dad who’s like poking around at the muddy soil, trying to like, rush rush that that seed to take, you know, to go after and take fruit. And so that same way, it’s interesting that you say that, like, this is what I do, I love this, my deep passion is helping teens and motivating and encouraging and brightening their and yet your kids are like, I’m over that.

Tanner Clark: [00:06:38] Yeah, they don’t, they don’t really care. They get a lot of it, but they don’t really care.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:06:42] Yeah, but I think they do. So what I would speak back is like those see all add up and we had a moment this morning that was just like, oh wow, my nine year old like was what we had prayed, what we prayed for and I haven’t really seen the last few months. It like blossoming moment in my wife and I caught each other’s eyes, we’re like, that’s what we’ve been hoping for and have not seen. 

Tanner Clark: [00:07:00] It’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:07:03] It’s the long game, right? It’s the long game.

Tanner Clark: [00:07:04] It has to be. It has to be.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:07:07] Can you go after a little bit of what you do and what you’ve been just invited into with teenagers? I know you’re using social media, you’re using speaking, but yeah, help us understand a little bit your deep passions and how that’s playing out.

Tanner Clark: [00:07:20] I want people to be happy and I want people to reach their potential. And a few years ago I was I just dropped my kids off at school and some of my alone time when I get to think and just be and and I’ve always had a passion for motivation and helping people and and a dream of being a motivational speaker. And I was driving around this lake, we we lived next to a lake up here in Utah, and I just had this, the strongest impression, one of the strongest impressions I’ve ever had. That was very clear, Tanner, you need to focus on teenagers. And I I and I’d had it before, which is the sad part, but this time was different. And and I didn’t know exactly how to do it or what to do or what what it meant or what the path forward is. And I think that’s some of the fears of life, right. Like, and probably why I didn’t do anything in the first place, because I just, great, Okay, focus on teenagers. Cool. Like what, doing what? Like, what do you mean? Like, I don’t know. And so, but that day changed things for me. And I just started, you know, on Instagram, which I’d already I’d already had kind of a motivational Instagram at that point, But I just changed to to focusing on teenagers. And then through a lot of just like divine intervention I found myself speaking in front of a middle school, you know, And from there it just snowballed. And so what I do is I go in and I help teenagers live their best life, and I do it by helping them recognize the things that are holding them back right now. And I think when we when we look as teenagers or we look at adults like everybody right now, there are so many things that are standing between us and who we want to become. And the path forward is by recognizing what are the things that are holding us back, acknowledging them, and then being very intentional about moving forward beyond that. And so I call it I call it finding your one second of strength. I believe that that there is a there is a moment and if you look back at your life and all the great things that you’ve done or, you know, the listeners have done, if you look back at all those great things, there was a decision point. And in that decision point, one second of strength, is the opportunity to hack your brain, to do the thing that is going to be the best for you and give you that the the growth that you need. And sometimes that is so scary to have to take that step, Tanner, go talk with a teenager. What? I don’t know. I don’t know how, but I believe that you can hack your brain in that moment and do it. And so that’s one of the things I tell teenagers and I go and talk to them, I just say, look, here’s some of the things that are holding you back, you know, And a lot of times today it’s social media, it’s it’s Tiktok, it’s the amount of time we spend on there. And I always tell them, look, I’m not going to tell you today to delete TikTok, to delete Snapchat or crap chat, as I call it. I’m not going to tell you to do those things, but if you feel in your heart, then I want you to find your one second of strength, to do it because the very next second will be the best second of your life. And the reason is, is because you will feel free and the weight of the world will be lifted off your shoulders in that moment. And so you can take that learning and take that applying and apply it to literally any aspect of your life and it will change the way you view the world. It’ll change the way that you interact with the world. It’ll change the person that you are when you find and decide that you are going to take your second of strength and go forward. So that’s what I try and help teenagers do and live.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:10:59] I want to apply this to dads and apply this as a coaching tool that us dads can use for our kids. And immediately my mind went to the two phrases I tell my daughters when I’m teaching them to water ski is, See this in your mind. I give you some practical tips on how to get up on water skis, but then then I tell them, say in your mind, I can do this, and then say in your mind, this is going to be fun. Like, I actually tell them to say these two things in your mind as you’re as you’re starting. So with that is just an example, take us into first how we can find that strength as dads. So if you’re if you’re coaching some dads on finding that one second strength and give us some even some other examples besides like the the looking at things that would keep you from being courageous, being strong in that moment, making the harder decision. Yeah, take us into a little more coaching on the one second strength.

Tanner Clark: [00:11:46] Yeah so to me it’s it’s about in the moment being very present and you know we talk about, you know, I think that’s such a phrase like be present, be present, you know, And it’s like, okay, well cool, like, you know. But, but this concept of being presence in the moments that require your presence is really important. And as a dad, that’s where I’ve used the one second of strength to, to change the relationship with my kids, changed the relationship with my wife, change relationship with my dog. There’s actually a study that says that dogs are depressed because we are spending too much time on our phones and not enough time with our dog. That’s a real study. A real study and I believe it, too. And when you look at that, you’re like, okay, but but absolutely true, right? Because we’re so embedded. And so an example is when I come home from work, when I walk in the door, I put my phone down and my and my my attention and my intention is right there with with my kids. It’s hugs, it’s it’s time whether it’s dinner, whether it’s whatever. But I’m also bringing with me the weight of the world of work, the weight of the world of all the things that I am shouldering as a dad. Because let’s be honest, that’s a lot, right? I mean, there are times and, you know, two days ago I dropped off my kids at school, I sat in my car and it was an emotional song and and I just cried. And I was like, I don’t know what is going on. Like like, like what’s happening here? And because the weight of the world that we shoulder and the responsibility of taking care of kids and families and and making sure that the lights are on and foods on the table and all those things is a lot. And I shoulder that every day, but I can’t let that come between me and my kids. I can’t let that determine the relationship of of of all of that. And another example, I had a work trip, so aside from speaking, I also am a director of marketing for a company. And so I had a work trip and, and work’s been tough recently and my wife sent me a text and she said, Hey, this time apart is good for us. And, and I do think that distance makes the heart grow fonder a lot of times. And so I thought about it relationship wise, and I and I kind of joke back and I said, haha what do you, you know, what do you mean? And she said she said, I think it just give us a break about talking about challenges. And it hit me in a really hard place because I realized that, maybe not with my kids, but with my wife, I was bringing home a lot of the baggage that that I carried with me. And that’s not fair. And so, it’s a it’s a it’s a drawback to the second of strength where I can use that moment to to, right when I walk in the door, right when I’m with my when I’m with my family, right in the moments that matter, I can put down the baggage, I can put down my phone, I can put down all the things and and be very present and intentional in their lives. And when I do that, I, I tend to to be happier. I tend to change everything about about the relationships that I have with my kids and so that’s how I would apply it. I think that there’s always moments that and a lot of it is related to our phones, right? We, a lot of times we have our phones in between us and our and our kids. And, you know, if if I was holding my phone here and doing this this interview, you wouldn’t think that you were very important, you know? And so our kids need to see that, that they are the most important things in our life. And we may be on our phones doing something really important. They don’t know that. They just know that the phone is way more important than they are. And so for me, the biggest one is when I get home and any time my kids are talking to me, any time they’re talking to me, I put that phone down and I and I listen and I just focus on what they’re trying to say so I can be present because I think that that is the number one way that we can show love to our kids.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:51] And that is so, so tangible for us dads to say every time we choose our kids in the, we don’t see how exactly does life does the family, does the business, does the bank account move forward for each one of those moments? We set the phone, in fact, it doesn’t, it goes the opposite. Maybe what was on the phone would move some of those tangible metrics forward, but those are each requiring strength to be present, to delay that response or text or that thing that we were hoping to get moving forward. And so I think I should just shout out quick to Heath and Joey and the Aro team because they introduced us and it’s how we got connected and those guys are, we did a whole episode with them and we’ll link in the show notes how to get the the Aro box, the smart box that helps you put the phone down and gamifies it.

Tanner Clark: [00:16:38] And that’s where the phone goes. So it’s when I walk in the door, we have a we have an Aro box that sits literally right next to to the to the door, you know, where we put all our stuff, our keys and all our stuff. And and I walk in and I open the Aro box and I and I put that phone down and for, you know, if this is the first episode you’re listening to, the Aro box is exactly that. It’s a device that that gives you credit or gamify as your downtime on your phone so that you can be more intentional in the moments that you need to be intentional.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:17:08] And to gamify even this conversation to compounded interest. My guess is every one of those one second of strength, Put the phone in the box, put the phone down, it is compounded like our kids, like the relational, I care about you, I value you. Those those all stack up over time, just like I think money and compounded interest. So it matters.

Tanner Clark: [00:17:30] I think it has to and I had this thought the other day, that if we’re not present in our kids lives now in good times, like when they’re young, you know, you have younger kids and I do, but but if we’re not present in their in their now, don’t expect to be present when things get hard. Don’t expect to be present that they will allow you into their presence when they are struggling, when there is something going on. You have to build that, that sweat equity of your relationship. You have to deposit the money into the bank and if you don’t then, then don’t. It’s not fair for you to complain when your kid is pushing you away or your your kid is, you know, being a teenager or whatever and won’t allow you in because because that work has to be done long before and if it’s not, then, then start now. Like like whatever that baby step is, whatever that next step is to to be present in their lives and it can be as simple as, you know, laying with your kids in bed at night, which is something that I try and do every, every night, I actually have this fight, this one second of strength fight every single night. Kids go to bed, The youngest, in particular, and Dad, are you coming up tonight? Because they’re trying to decide, are they going to give me a hug downstairs or are they going to give me a hug upstairs? And they usually do give me a hug downstairs, anyway. But there’s a moment, where I’m like, tired. Upstairs, that’s a lot of stairs. Like, like there’s effort, right, to be this present parent and and every night, I think that one second of strength, yes, I’ll be there. And so they go up and I go, I go up after and then I and then I lay in bed with with my youngest kids, my oldest doesn’t want that anymore. But you know, but but, but there’s a moment there where I can choose to be intentional. And there’s just one moment where you can begin to change the dynamic, begin to have conversations with your kid, begin to be there and be present so that you can build that, build that equity for the other times in their lives.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:19:50] And there is the power of loops of like rhythm loops and a rhythm loop that I guess I’ll just turn this into a confessional right now. I, I often put our youngest to bed and she’s almost two years old, and it’s a process that takes about 15 minutes and the last 10 minutes, the curtain on our R.V. upper bunk bed that we have, we built like a chicken coop for a slider crib in the upper bed. But I will have my phone with me because the curtains down, I’m rubbing her back or singing, but I’m past, I’m also responding to text messages and calls and some other things out that I haven’t done because my wife’s got the other three in the other room. And my two year old does not know that on the other side of the curtain, I’m only giving 10% of my focus to her. But my other girls have noticed and know that I’m on my phone in that moment and so I sometimes use the podcast as a I’m not going to do that anymore. I want to be present for those moments because I don’t have any more back rubs with my almost two year old. Like, I’m not going to be needed for that. She’ll put herself down.

Tanner Clark: [00:20:54] You know, that’s an interesting one. And I you know, I heard somewhere like, you never know when the last time is that you’re going to carry your kid and that that is scary, right? You never know when the last time is that that they’re not going to want you to to lay in bed with them or whatever. And so I don’t want to look back on my life and realize that I left, I left some love on the table.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:21:22] Yes.

Tanner Clark: [00:21:23] I don’t want to look back on my life and realize that I left love on the table and that that I could have, could have done more. I could have been better. I could have, I could have, I could have changed something. And maybe, you know, maybe our kids don’t don’t really know, you know, two years old, they don’t know you’re on your phone or they don’t, they don’t, maybe they’re not, or maybe they do. Or maybe they do feel that, maybe they do feel that. But but, you know, right. And someday we’re going to look back on this life and the question is, did you give it all you could in every moment or did you mail it in? And the difference between the gap, between where we are now as parents, as dads, as you know, employees, as people, the difference between where we are now and where we want to be really comes down to the intentionality of it, Right. And so if we are, if we are distracted in moments that require action, we’re missing it. We are missing it. And and that that is going to roll over into every other aspect of our lives. And so if you can train yourself, to in those moments of back rubs, to to be present, it’s going to be much easier to be present in those moments of whatever it may be, right, work life, whatever. But if we can’t do it in the little things, why would we expect to do it in the big things?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:22:52] Wow. Tanner, I thought you were going to go man in the arena, Teddy Roosevelt on me, there for a second and our faces will be marred with sweat and blood. Are we going to stay in, stay in the bleachers? Yeah, I love it. So let’s take it forward to coaching our kids to have one second of strength. So how do we come alongside? You can go with the teenage answer and the six year old answer of like, how do we how do we be dads that really encourage that courage, that assertiveness, that strength in those moments?

Tanner Clark: [00:23:22] It’s a great question and I found that every child is different, you know. And so one of the things that I talk with parents about is and that I have had to learn the hard way with my kids is that they’re all different, you know. And and any father out there that has kids knows that from top to bottom, my oldest 16 year old to my, to Bob, the youngest, like like they’re all so, so different in the way that they are motivated, in the way that they need to be loved, in the way that they need to be treated. And and, you know, one example was my 13 year old, he’s a he’s a sports kid, loves sports. I’ve coached many of his teams. He does not respond, his love language, if you’ve ever read the book like the Five Languages of Love or whatever it’s called, like his love language is words of affirmation. And as a coach, it is incredibly difficult to discipline a child, to discipline a player and say, stay down on that ball, keep your feet in the batter’s box, do whatever. Right. Like, like, tell him the things that he needs to do as a as a as a player, as a teenager, as an individual, as a grown, you know, as a as a as a growing man. It is very challenging to tell him what to do when he receives that message, as I’m not good enough. And as a coach, it was really hard. And as a dad, it’s really hard. And one time I remember the moment that I found out what his love language was, he was playing basketball on a team, I was not his coach. For once I was sitting up in the stands and he was just kind of running up the court like nothing. Like, like. And I’m like, run. Like and I’m a I’m a sports and I’m like, like, run, like, go, like, effort, like, let’s go. And he he wasn’t. He got down to the other end, on defense, He played great defense on this kid. Kid shot the ball, missed it. He got the rebound. And I heard his coach from the other side yell, great defense, Cooper, Great, great rebound. And I have never seen that kid run faster up the court like like a bullet. And it was this moment where I was like, Holy crap, I, I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been doing it wrong. And so, I changed my approach to to loving him. I changed my approach to coaching him. I changed my approach to to everything I do with him. And then I tried to learn what are the love languages of my other kids. And so if I was to teach a kid, as a parent, how do you get your child to embrace their one second of strength, first, I would tell them about it. I would make very clear what a second of strength is. Don’t don’t leave, don’t leave it up to ambiguity, right. This is your second of strength, this is how you do it. And then I would coach them through the love language that they need to be taught through to help them grow, to help them to learn, and then be there for them and help them see it. And so I think that too often we don’t do that. We just we we love our kids the way that we we want love, right? Like, I’m a I’m a I’m a physical touch affection guy. My oldest daughter is anything but that.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:26:51] Long hugs, long hugs, no go. No go. 

Tanner Clark: [00:26:54] No, no, like, like even like a second hug, she doesn’t want that anymore. But, and so I have to change my approach with her. And she’s really about quality time but not touching, right. And so I I’m there for her in those certain ways. And so, so that’s, that’s one way I would do it as a parent. When I talk with teenagers and I tell them about their second of strength, I give them just really real examples of what it is. And, you know, one of those is when my, when Cooper, my 13 year old and he was learning to swim when he was three years old, two or three. He, he, like when I learned how to swim, my my teacher was like, Hey, here’s a kick board, and she was just like, just like, really super sweet and soft. She’s like, just hold onto the board and kick, kick, kick and kick, kick, kick, you know, and put you put your mouth in the water and blow bubbles, you know, and, and it was like I learned, you know, but whatever. And so when my when my three year old learned how to swim, she would set him on the side of the pool and she would push him in and she would grab him out and she would put him on the side of the pool again and she would push him in again. And she did this over and over and over again until she graduated from that and she would set she would stand outside of the pool with him and she would shove him in and then she would grab him out and she would do it over and over. And for three weeks, that is literally all she did. And every time she did that, every time she pushed him into the pool, she said, if you fall into the pool, turn and kick to the side. And she’d push him in again and she’d say, if you fall into the pool, turn and kick to the side. Again, if you fall into the pool, turn and kick to the side over and over and over again. And when I talk with teenagers, it’s really comes down to that. There’s a moment where you’re going to fall into the pool and it’s okay, everybody falls into the pool. I fall into the pool every single day and one aspect of my life or another or multiple. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:28:50] Yes we do.

Tanner Clark: [00:28:51] It is okay. But when you do, you find that second of strength every time and you turn and kick to the side. Run away from those waters, get out of those waters, your life changes when you decide that you are that you are important enough to kick to the side. That’s when life changes, when you recognize your value, when you recognize how important you are to this world, to other people, to the future people that you don’t even know yet. When you recognize your value, it will compel you to turn and kick to the side so that you can become the person that you want to become because you need to be that person. And someone else needs you to be that person. That’s the difference.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:29:37] And I hear you, Tanner, saying you are valued. You are valuable. You are like, like the world is better because you’re in it. You are strong. You can get back to the side of the pool. You can. You have choice. You’re empowered. You’re needed for somebody else’s life, like, all these are like, just like words that you’re seeking out of what you’re saying. What else would you add to that list that you would just tell that teenager?

Tanner Clark: [00:30:00] You know, the other thing that I tell every teenager is that you’re in control. We can’t control somebody else’s actions, but we always get to control our reaction. And, you know, even as a parent, that’s critical, right? Like, again, I talked about bringing in this baggage from all the things that we do, we always do that. And then our kid does something that we don’t, you know, maybe not to be that big of a deal, but in the moment it’s a big deal because we’re already on edge. And so we have this reactionary moment to something that happened and now we are disciplining our kids in some way. And I’m not against disciplining kids, let’s be honest. But, but, I think that we can tailor our approach or tailor our moments or tailor how we do it to teach our kids in the right way. But but I tell kids that they’re in control. They’re in control of everything that happens in their life. It’s actually it’s actually the first thing I tell kids when I go into assembly. I say, You are in control from here on out no matter what happens and life is hard. We deal with, we deal with depression and anxiety. We deal with self-doubt and and comparison and issues with self-worth and self-love. And we deal with, we deal with all of these things on a daily basis on one scale or another, but when we recognize that we are in control of our emotions, we are in control of our life, we are in control of everything that happens. We get to decide what is the next step forward. Nobody decides that for us. Nobody decides what you’re going to do or how you’re going to respond. You get to decide that. You get to choose what is going to be your action, what is going to be your reaction and how you are going to walk the walk or talk the talk, next. Because if you don’t decide that, who does? It has to be you. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:31:50] That’s it. So good. I am going to make sure in the show notes, all of our dads have your website and your Instagram because it’s just like nuggets, like, so good micro content, right? But I wanted to tease one of your recent posts just because we’re always gathering book recommendations for dads and a lot of the books that you listed, probably more a little older than my kids, the dads that have a little older kids is my guess. And I think you went through the the the lens of kind of the digital, these five books that are more around digital and around social media. But can I just riff with you a little bit about these books that you listed? So I’ll list them off and then we can just kind of riff back and forth. So the first one was The Teenage Brain, A Neuroscientist Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, anything you just mentioned about that one quick.

Tanner Clark: [00:32:35] I would read it and I don’t think it matters where your kids are in that because because I think also kids are growing up much sooner, now, right. Like teenage like I used to think of a teenager as like, Yeah, 14, 15, 16. But like that tween age age is happening earlier, and especially with the digital age, it’s forcing our kids to grow up earlier, you know. Like like kids are seeing pornography on average for the first time when they’re eight years old, which is mind blowing, right. And they’re doing it, they’re seeing it because of these digital devices with friends and all these things. So, so the teenage brain is really about, is for me, was really understanding the why between what my kids want, what my kid, why my kids are doing what they’re doing. And it allowed me to understand how I can again tailor my approach as a parent to to to fix that. And an example she gives in the book, an example we had in my house four months ago was my 13 year old was like, I want to grow my hair out. And we’re like, no, You know, like you like it, like we’re just used to cutting his hair or whatever. But he is exploring his personality. He is exploring who he is. He is exploring his his emotional, all of these things. And so in the books, he just says, yeah, that’s a form of expression, why not let him do it in a way that you can be around control? Because if you block that, where are they going next? Because they’re going to they’re going to continue to grow and, and, and decide and form who they want to be. I’d much rather do that while I’m around, instead of them doing it while I’m not around in some other way in some other fashion that I’m not aware of. So that book, crosses a lot, but it’s a it’s a phenomenal book that I would, I would recommend every parent read.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:34:32] I love that the description said about the brain emotional, irrational and awesome. That’s the brain, like it’s a, it’s that there’s that side as well. The next the next one is Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids And How To Break The Trance. What would you mention on this one?

Tanner Clark: [00:34:50] This book is really foundational and I think regardless of what age your kids are, because because we give our kids the iBabysitter at a very young age, right. The iPad, where like, mom, dad needs a break. We give them the iPad, we give them a phone, we give them a video game, we whatever, because because to us it feels like peace, to them it forms addiction. And so this book will begin to begin to tell you as a parent why your kid is acting the way your kid is acting, because of these devices. And look, again, I’m not I am not anti smartphones. I’m not anti video games. We’ve got a PlayStation upstairs. We’ve got, you know, my oldest daughter has has a smartphone, my other kids do not. And so I’m not anti these things until they start to steal your happiness and limit your potential and then I get really passionate about it. And so Glow Kids will inform parents why this is having this this like impact on their brain. And every kid has, every parent has taken a phone or a video game away from their kids. And the result is what? Explosion.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:36:09] Exactly. Meltdown.

Tanner Clark: [00:36:11] That that is because you just took away a drug from their brain. And studies show that that the digital devices, they are raising dopamine levels in the child’s brain at a much greater rate than other things. You know, you think about you know, you think about the feeling when you eat a cookie. You think about the the pleasure of sex. You think about all these things. It raises your brain, dopamine above all of that, on a sustained level for hours or sometimes, Right. How long is the kid on those devices? It sustains that level and when you pull that away, you are literally ripping away a drug. And so this book will will start to like, inform parents about what’s happening with that.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:37:07] All right, more accountability. I’m going to read that one. I’m going to read Glow Kids. Here we go. The next one, just the subtitle is like, oh, my, please, every dad with boys, please read this book. I’m praying for four specific boys, a lot. There’s four boys that are receiving a lot of prayer that don’t know me yet because they’re my four girls, future husbands. And so here’s what I pray for them, I mean, it’s the it’s this tagline, so this one’s called Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving The Growing Epidemic Of Unmotivated Boys And Underachieving Young Men. Woah. Tell me about that one.

Tanner Clark: [00:37:42] That says it all, really, and we are, we are seeing this unfold real time in in these generations, right. And it’s not just generational, but it’s but we are seeing it unfold and we we see these boys who are, it’s not, they’re lackadaisical like, Not not not trying, not not caring, not trying to become the person that they can become. And, you know, so this book really goes into the mentality and the whys and then it gives it gives examples, don’t ask me what they are because it can’t run after my head, but it gives examples of what we should be doing and how we can change this narrative. As a as a parent, there’s also a book called Girls Adrift. But but there’s there’s opportunity for us, as parents, to understand why this is happening to our boys and then step in so it doesn’t happen to our boys, right. And because and you’re right, like, you know, it’s a scary thought to think about my daughters and who they’re going to marry and what type of young man that’s going to be. And I hope that it’s it’s a young man who is determined and motivated to to love and grow and do all the things that that I would hope for her because she deserves that. She deserves, both my daughters deserve that guy because I know as a dad how special and incredible they are. And if they can’t find somebody because of this like boys adrift mentality, which is increasing in our society, that’s scary. It’s really scary. And what’s the world going to look like? And then what are their kids going to look like? And how does this unfold over generations and generations if we don’t recognize as parents and then step in to save them?

Jeff Zaugg: [00:39:38] Wow. We’ll hit these last two a little faster, so the next one is on Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All About Me World.

Tanner Clark: [00:39:47] Yeah. So a big problem right now in the world is is is being all about me and self-absorption. And it turns into bullying and it turns into to just, you know, a world where it’s about me and Unselfie is about teaching your kids how to have empathy. And this book has so many examples and ways to encourage your kids to have empathy, to look out for other people so that you can always, you know, walk a mile in their shoes before you say something, before you do something, before you, I don’t know. And so it’s a it’s a great book that that leans and honestly, it’s something that every person needs in the, in the social media selfie world, every person needs to have a little bit more empathy. And I think if we did, I think we changed the world. I think we would do good, do better, be better, and and change people in a different way. And if and if it doesn’t change the world, it’ll certainly change you and it’ll change the way that people look at you. Because I hope that, I hope at some point people look at me and go, He was just a good person. I hope, I hope nobody ever is like, Oh man, that guy is so conceited and such a jerk. You know, I hope that doesn’t happen.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:41:02] Same. Same about you and about me. The The Chaos Machine is the fifth one. The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story Of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds And Our World.

Tanner Clark: [00:41:15] Yeah, it’s a great one. And so he goes in-depth into what is happening with social media and how they are psychologically controlling everything in your brain and you get into this feedback loop, right? And so a good example, if you’re in the social media world, right, you post something on social media and it blows up and does great or whatever you get, you get likes and then all of a sudden you feel good because you got likes. And then you post something else and it doesn’t do as good and then you start to question your value and go, Man, well, what people didn’t like my content, people didn’t like who I am, they don’t the way I look like the way that I look. And so you do you do something that social media is just prepared and waiting for you to do. You change your approach to to posting or doing things for your friends or whatever it may be. You change your approach so that the algorithm will get more likes and more approval. And so this book goes in depth of, with interviewing people from Silicon Valley and the people who designed this stuff. It goes in depth of the trick that they played on every one of us to to capture us and make sure that we are spending more and more time on it. And one of the one of the quotes in there is something along the lines of you have to recognize that that our generation, yours and mine, is the last generation that will ever remember the way it was and nobody else will. Because if you have a child that is under 18 years old, they don’t know a world without social media. They don’t know a world without these digital devices that are not going away. And so this book is scary, and makes you sick, but makes you recognize why it’s doing what it’s doing to you and me and our kids in particular, or really everyone but but what it’s doing so that we can begin to change the narrative and help our kids out of this state of this, life chaos. 

Jeff Zaugg: [00:43:29] Woah, Tanner, thank you. And it’s so easy because I can just link over that blog post. You got the links to all the books, the Amazon links, and can probably listen to them or read the hard copy. Thank you for this conversation. I want to give you the last kind of two or 3 minutes, anything else that you’re like, Man, this might be helpful for the dadAWESOME community? Anything else on your heart that you wanted to, wanted to mention? 

Tanner Clark: [00:43:49] Yeah. I think that, you know, we have a we have a responsibility as a parent to to love our kids more. Love our kids harder. Be present every day and the reality is, is that as a dad, we come up short a lot. You know, I think we come up short in our own minds more often and hopefully the listeners are, if they’re listening to this podcast, it’s because they want to be a better dad, quite frankly. And we come up short on that a lot. But at the end of the day, our kids don’t know that. They just see us as us. They see us every day. And I think about my own dad who who, you know, is awesome. He was he was present, he worked hard, he taught me a lot. I don’t remember one negative thing about my dad. I’ll get emotional on that, but I don’t remember one negative thing. And your kids are not holding on to your faults. They are not holding on to to, you know, the time you yelled at them. They are not holding on to any of that baggage that you think that you’re holding yourself hostage for. They are not holding on to that at all. So give yourself some grace. Give yourself some grace and decide to be a little bit better today. Learn from the things that we’ve learned from, learn from our past, learn from all those things and take that next step forward, find your one second of strength and determine to be better. And when you do that every single day, you’re going to look back on your life and you’re going to be pretty dang satisfied with what you did, who you are, how you’ve done it, and more importantly, your kids are going to turn around one day and go, man, he was just good. And if you can do that, you’ve kind of done it.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:45:59] Thank you so much for joining us for episode 272 with Tanner Clark. Those books that we just walked through and kind of riffed on a moment ago are all going to be linked at the show notes today, dadAWESOME.org/272. Tanner’s website, secondofstrength.com, also has all these resources, but that will be linked in our show notes. Guys, thank you for listening. Let’s be dads who take action. So, let’s commit to, whether it’s one of these books, whether it’s following Tanner on social media, whether it’s one of the principles that he shared today, let’s let’s move into action versus just intent. Guys, it matters, what you’re doing matters. Your kids maybe are not saying thank you today, but guys, your kids will thank you for being dadAWESOME, being an intentional dad, being a prayerful dad. I’m so thankful that you listened today. I’m cheering for you. I’m praying for you. Have a great week.