No. I'm not going on a jungle safari, nor am I taking to the high seas to submerge 20,000 Leagues. However, I've been dedicating time as of late to attempt to gain clarity on my direction in life and enrich myself as an individual in an effort to unpack how best to raise my son. I want to reiterate to him, much like a broken record (to you youngsters, a record is the device that makes the scratchy noises in the rap songs that we all enjoy) the applicable lessons which are not simply rooted in "because I said so." Although it is the furthest thing from easy, I believe that the practice of self discipline as a human being at any age is of the utmost importance. Don't get me wrong, I most certainly fall short of the goal-line in this game from time to time. With that being said, one of the first lessons I want my young man to experience is the benefit and triumph of facing your fears and venturing into the unknown. Anecdotally, I can not name a single substantial life victory or accomplishment that didn't come from traversing uncharted territory or pushing onward into difficult terrain. From the 6 years of pursuing my childhood goal of becoming a firefighter, to the nervous anticipation and butterflies in my stomach that I felt before meeting a stranger that I'd come to fall in love with, the terrifying aspect of going to school for 6 weeks in the woodlands of the deep south to learn how to render safe bombs, the multiple pregnancy losses and associated anguish of restarting the process of trying to have and expand our family, and now writing and publishing children's books, to which I have ZERO experience doing.... Every single one of these examples was/is a call to adventure. Granted, sometimes that adventure rears up and Mike Tyson punches you in the head. Suffice it to say, metaphorically being KO'ed and waking up on your back with a knot on your head is often times less than pleasant. But there is nothing in the world that can replace or top the elation that's coupled with knowing that you are an unstoppable force limited only by your will to get back up. This is why I encourage my 3 year old to accomplish small or large tasks on his own. Whether it was learning numbers and letters, dressing himself, or attempting to swim without his floaties, it was our goal to make him as reliant on himself as possible (within the realm of reasonable safety). Some of you may think we're nuts, but it's not like we have him running the deep fryer over an open flame, nor do we allow him to juggle butcher knives. I'll use the latter example of swimming to demonstrate my point. The reluctance and fear in his eyes when we were teaching him how to "scoop and kick" in the pool without mommy or daddy's help definitely hurt my heart and almost made it impossible to push him to his limit. That's until I saw his reaction to him realizing that he can swim on his own. It was the first time I'd seen him truly happy in a way that was unlike any other instance in which he was happy. The confidence in himself manifested by the conquering of a particular fear and accomplishing a monumental goal was to date, my proudest moment as a dad. It borderline brought tears to my eyes (I'm not crying, I got sunblock in my eyes). This segues into what Bombproof Family is. As stated, every accomplishment listed above was riddled with fear, failure or struggle. However, fear is healthy and failure is temporary, so long as you cling to your resolve. This is what our brand represents. This is our mantra. The Bombproof Family is not one that's perfect. The Bombproof Family is not one that cowers and hides from adversity. On the contrary, the Bombproof Family is one that gets into the fray. And when the smoke clears, the Bombproof Family will dust itself off, rise from the ashes and push onward. This is the only way we know how to operate. I don't claim to have all the answers. Clearly, this is simply the lens I choose to view the world through. However, if I can instill the "challenge yourself to better than you were yesterday and never quit" mindset into my son's head, then I can die a happy man.