Database Name: dbwzecoixet92g dc360podcast – A Dad’s Path

Transcript: #41- Coach Danny Ray

 


Danny Ray is a dad with insights. He’s a stay-at-home dad who has a number of great ideas we explore, including:

  • Getting in a flow state as a dad.

  • Understanding your energy and quickly getting in the right energy state.

  • Why you shouldn’t get offended by your kids’ words.

  • Doing the “half-life exercise” to understand time and maturity.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast platform. Like this episode? Check out more of our Dad Podcasts.


Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Hi, and welcome to another episode of A Dad’s Path Podcast, I’m Will Braunstein. Today I’m here with coach Danny Ray. Danny is from the DC 360 podcast. He’s a coach, he’s a father. He’s a lot of different things. You can find him on Instagram at Danny Cobbin. On Facebook, on YouTube, all in the same URL. He’ll let you know what that is. But first, welcome, Danny.

Coach Danny Ray:

Hey, what’s up, man? Thanks for having me here, Will.

Will Braunstein:

I appreciate you joining us. I know you’re on a, sounds like a little extended trip here in Utah right now.

Coach Danny Ray:

Yes. We just decided somewhere along the line, instead of going on our normal vacation, we would skip some minor vacations and just throw it all together and take a month in Utah. It’s beautiful, man. Beautiful.

Will Braunstein:

I’m jealous. It sounds like a great way to spend some time. And you’re with your twins right now?

Coach Danny Ray:

Yes, I have my twins right now. They’re three and a half. My daughter who was 17, came down for a week and then the grandparents are coming down for two weeks. So that’ll be exciting.

Will Braunstein:

I like it. No, it’s great. It’s good to have those family events and moments. Especially as we get older, you realize that they don’t happen as often as you’d like. So, special when they do. And it’s also hard because I’m actually going on a big family vacation next week, which I’m looking forward to. But at the same time there’s always the, you’re out of your element a little bit. Your kids are out of their element.

And one challenge I find is I’m a little bit more stressed in some ways. I’m a little, I don’t know if on edge is quite the right way of putting it, but I know on one of your podcasts you talked about the importance of getting in flow state and what that means. And I’d be curious if we could talk about that just for a second, just to help me personally hear how you get there and what that means to you.

Coach Danny Ray:

So a lot of what I talk about on the podcast is more how it all works, not so much how we do things. So it’s a small distinction, but when we get it, yo, we get it and I didn’t get it for a long time. And so what’s happened is I have learned that whether we’re on task or we’re off task, whatever it is, whenever I’m feeling in more of a low mood or I’m feeling stress, worried, anxious, any of those emotions really, I don’t see the world the same way I do when I’m just myself.

So recognizing that, especially at the end of the night, right. So it’s six o’clock, kids hadn’t taken a nap. They’re like, I don’t want to do nothing. And what was helpful for me was learning this information because I recognized, oh, I’m off kilter. And when I’m off kilter we’re all going overboard, right? Nobody’s going to survive.

And so with that it was recognizing, my children do whatever it is that I do. Not necessarily what I say, but what I do. So if I’m in these moments of stress and worry, I’m exerting that in any way, that’s what they’re picking up. And it’s like, it doesn’t matter what I’m saying. Hey, you kids, go lay down. They don’t hear that. They feel your presence.

And it’s fascinating from that standpoint because the podcast you’re talking about, I was talking about a river, right. And if you think about a river, there is the top part, which is very choppy. That’s where you get the white water rafting, you get stuff like that. You go a little bit deeper and that water is just a flow. It’s not as choppy, it’s not still, it’s just moving.

And then even deeper than that is stillness, right. When we find that stillness inside of us, we can flow with our kids because they’re in the chop, we’re in that stillness. Somehow we find a way to meet in the middle and it’s just like a roller coaster, but it’s parenting.

Will Braunstein:

No, I love that, I guess analogy or however you describe it there. I mean the imagery really worked for me, the calmness, and that’s what can be a challenge is when, all right, I know I’m not calm. And as you said, our kids are picking that up. They’re catching this energy. And so that’s where I looked for different tool sets, whether it’s maybe some breathing exercise or something. Or lately I’ve just been, boom, clapping to myself, but just, hey, get out of it, snap out of it, because this is not… But curious if you have experience or things that have worked for you personally to get, when you’re not in flow state like you’re saying, and then to get there.

Coach Danny Ray:

Okay. So what’s real cool about this is like how I said, how things work, right. I think of the way I am mentally in three different groups. And this is like a cop in some instances. But in one group I notice that everything that’s happening in my life is coming through me, right. So everything that I see is a reflection of how I’m seeing it, essentially. The second state is I know that, but I still think it’s that other person over there. And this is where I’m at with my kids a lot of times, right. But the third state is, is I think it’s all them. My kids are wiling out. They’re going crazy. I don’t know what to do.

That pops me back into one of the other two states. And in one of those two states I know, even though things are crazy, I’m okay. And just like you said, you clap, as something that you found to do. Each and every one of us in those moments, when we quiet down enough, we’ll know what to do. It’s almost like I could give you what happens for me. In those moments my wife will say something and I’ll be like, oh, it clicked. It just snaps right in.

But that’s not how it always occurs. Sometimes it occurs differently. And that’s for each and every one of us. And I think that that’s what’s unique, is the more that we as parents talk about this kind of thing, the more we see, however you get to a calmer space for you, as long as you’re not yelling at your kid or whatever, kudos to you. Part of living the life.

Will Braunstein:

No, I like that. I think that’s right on. It’s definitely not one size fit all. And the other thing that I think’s helpful for me to remember is that they’re kids, right. They’re not little people you can… They’re talking to you. They’re talking back at you sometimes. You’re like, hey, that’s not nice. But they don’t have developed brains at all. And I’ll speak for myself, sometimes expect them to, right. And say, hey, why are you acting like this? You know this isn’t play. Why are you saying X, Y, or Z? Hopefully I’m as calm as I sounded just now. Not always. But I think that’s important to keep in mind as well, that for me it’s easy to lose sight of. They’re kids.

Coach Danny Ray:

I think that’s the misconception, right, is that however we were parented, we as parents now have to address whatever comes up for us. Because our kids, like you’re saying, are kids. They’re not trying to be spiteful. At least mine aren’t at three and a half, right. My 17 year old daughter, she comes down and she’s giving me advice. Yo, don’t do this. I’m like, oh, thank you. They’re on our side. I think a lot of times they’re just looking for us to be on their side.

I had a friend tell me not long ago, she was like, my kid, he’ll get angry and start trying to hit on his sister and do things like this. And one day I just was like, are you hungry and want to go get a hamburger? And the kid just broke down, balling and crying. It’s like, mom, I love you. Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And it’s like, hey, remember yo, these are kids. One day they’re going to be adults. They’re going to be okay.

And then on top of that, remembering that, and seeing if I can get to my space, however I get to my space, while my kids are doing whatever they’re doing. Sometimes it’s just that, right, that deep exhale. And then the show keeps going.

Will Braunstein:

I like that a lot. Because like you said, that’s another interesting topic you hit on, was when your kids say hurtful things to you, right. Like they say, I hate you. And I’ve been told that by my kids. And the first time, couple of times it hurt until, I think your advice was spot on, and not taking it personally, which sounds obvious. But I’d be curious, because to me, you have to teach that words have meaning, because they do. But at the same time, in those moments, it’s not something you should take personally, of course. But at the same time it does still hurt and there’s still a lesson there, I think. So I’d be curious, your thoughts on that, and for you to dig deeper because I found that real interesting.

Coach Danny Ray:

I got two ways of looking at it. I got a story about what’s going on right now. But before we get to that, I’ll tell you, do you remember those booby bracelets that were popular for a while? Plastic bracelet. Originally it was WWJD and then they turned and said breast cancer awareness, something, something. Right. And it was huge for a long time. And the way it got popular was this kid wore it to school. And the principal and all these people made a big deal about, you’re not supposed to wear this, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. The rest of the school went out and got them as a rebellion to, yo, I’m trying to do something positive here.

Just like a lot of times we have a misconception in our minds whenever we’re doing something. It doesn’t look like a misconception to us, looks like a misconception to our partner, looks like a misconception to our coworkers, whoever that is. But to us, we look like we’re doing the right thing. And that’s true with our kids at the same time. In that moment, they have no better tool to fight with.

And this was one of the things I struggled with, was they had no better tool to fight with and say, I hate you, right. I struggled for a long time because I thought the only tool I had was to spank them, and I didn’t want to spank. I didn’t want to, I didn’t, I don’t want to do that. But I don’t know how to get you to do what I want you to do, so I’m going to do this. And I recognize that it didn’t work, right. Kids still doing what I don’t want them to do. They’re just now afraid of me, bro.

Will Braunstein:

It’s not what we wanted.

Coach Danny Ray:

Exactly. So on one hand it’s like, A, recognizing they’re kids. They don’t really hate you, they hate the situation. And you’re in a way causing the situation in their eyes. And then if you want, I could tell you about what’s going on right now.

Will Braunstein:

Please, please.

Coach Danny Ray:

So I’m black. My wife’s white. And so my kids are mixed, right. And some Hispanics came by the other day and he had his kids with him and my son went to the window and was like, yo, my brother’s outside. And at first I was like, your brother’s outside, bro? What? And I was like, whatever. He goes to get his little camera, he starts taking pictures of the kid, right. And I was like, no, that’s no big deal. And he was like, yo, I want to go with my family. And I was like, we’re your family. I called Courtney, upstairs. Yo, listen to your son right now. And he’s like, I’m going to go with my family. And we were like, we’re your family.

So fast forward a little bit. He’s not taking a nap that night. And it’s seven o’clock. We went to some event. We’re out of town, right. Come back, and he’s distraught. And he’s saying, my family abandoned me. And I’m like, bro, we right here, what do you mean abandoned you? And so we’re dealing with that.

And we’re putting my daughter in bed. My daughter’s like, you got to go because my mom’s about to come. And I was like, what? She’s like, my parents, they’re about to get here. You can’t be here when they get here. And I’m like, Aria, who are your parents? And she says some name, I don’t know, some wild children’s name. So that makes a little bit of in that, right.

But last couple of days, bro, there’s a lady across the street came by. She goes, there’s my mom. I want to take this picture to my mom. I’m like, oh my God, what am I supposed to do with this? And it’s just like, yo, we going to roll. We’re just going to roll with it. You know what I mean? When you start to see how things work, you recognize your kids are so funny. A, they your biggest teacher, but B, they’re so funny.

From one perspective, this is very disturbing that they think that somebody else is their… That’s disturbing. But on the other, bro, it’s so funny, bro.

Will Braunstein:

Those are two perfect stories you’re juxtaposing. Kids are so insane and creative and fun and a little scary. But the other side of that is, they’re young. They don’t have a toolbox that we have and we don’t even have the, speaking for myself, I don’t even have the best toolbox. And so those words, I hate you, just, hey, oh, that’s a way to cut. Maybe another way to look at it, it’s almost like when you learn to curse, you learn the F word or whatever. And then it’s like, oh I can just, that’s your new toolbox. In middle school or whatever it is, not obviously as a new dad, hopefully.

Coach Danny Ray:

No. What you’re pointing to and what you’re alluding to is so correct. And you said something then that was so powerful. You said, recognizing that your toolbox as a grown adult with kids is limited, what do we think that their toolbox is, right? We treat them like, yo, they got a full toolbox, man. They got everything they need and we just making sure they using them. What?

Will Braunstein:

No, no. Because again, the way they talk, you’re like, well, that’s how people talk. So you’re a person. Not little people, they are kids. But then again, that’s one of those things where it’s easy for us to talk about right here. But then in 25 minutes when I’m making the kids’ lunch, I don’t want what you made, daddy. Mommy makes it.

Coach Danny Ray:

So this is what was super powerful for me, right, is recognizing that learning this information isn’t useful right now necessarily. You’re going to get into the next situation where that happens. You’re going to notice at some point that wasn’t how you wanted to be in the situation. And at that point don’t beat yourself up. Because that’s what we all want to do, right? We want to go down the pathway to beat ourselves up. We’re not the way we want. That actually keeps us from moving forward, right.

The pathway forward is recognizing that I didn’t do whatever it is, learning from that, and then moving forward without the harshness that we oftentime judge ourselves a thousand times for. And when we do that, what we recognize is, or what I recognize is, our new norm was found the same way our old norm was found, right. So during COVID everybody’s normal changed, but nobody can specifically point to the day that it changed.

We can all be like, shut down, my life changed. No, there was a shift, there was a shake up, but over the months then you came to what was a new normal. And then the world kind of, sort of, opens back up. And here we are back in a different kind of new normal where Zoom calls are a normal thing, right. I call my mom on Zoom now, that’s real. And that’s just how things work.

Will Braunstein:

No, absolutely. I mean, that was certainly a big challenge through the pandemic. And as you said, we’re opening back up. Hard to pinpoint when things closed, et cetera. But one thing that I think that helped with was, one hand you’re looking forward to this ending, you’re looking forward to obviously going back to normal. But on the other hand, I think there’s value in just living in the moment. Obviously there is that value.

And somehow having something that you’re not wanting can almost help you live in that moment more. Because that’s, I think, something that kids are just so, so good at. I mean, you see them playing, you see them, hey, what’s… And they’re in their own world in two seconds and they’ll get mad at you and two seconds later, hey, you’re still that, dah, dah, dah.

Whereas, I think as parents, that’s another, you’ve talked about this, where it’s not just looking forward to bedtime and then you can have freedom and looking forward to the weekend so you have, or whatever, or the weekdays so your kids are in school. I mean, because if you think about what’s at the end of that tunnel, your kids are gone, right. And in a good way, they’re living in the world, they’re hopefully successful, however they define that, adults.

But, I think as in the day to day, it’s easy to be like, oh man, I just need to get through the day and then it’s bedtime and then I can… But at the same time it’s maybe not the right attitude. That was one of your topics I really found pretty compelling.

Coach Danny Ray:

First thing is, we got 18 summers. We all got 18 years. We got 18 summers. And I’m already three summers in, four summers in. How often do we get that? Bedtime. That’s the most cherished time for me now, because my kids are as primal as they’re going to be, put it that way. And it’s like a game.

There was one night that I, oh man, we were going through something, I don’t know. And I was like, I’m going to drag you across the floor. And my son goes, okay. And it hit me. I was like, oh. And I pick him by his feet, I drug him across the floor and he had a great time. We got to bed after that, right. It’s like that. When we’re in the moment, like you’re saying, wherever it is, when we’re there and present, the best thing that’s going to happen, will happen. Whatever it’s supposed to be.

When we’re in our head thinking about, well I’m the parent, it’s bedtime. You got to do what I tell you to do. We come off like that to our kids. And it’s like, it is not them. It’s just, it’s not. And so, yeah bro, parenting is-

Will Braunstein:

That’s totally right. I mean, again, one of those where it’s, the days long, the years are short. Like you said, you have 18 summers and 18 is generous because when they’re 14, 15, 16, 17, they’re different, right. They almost certainly won’t be as present. They’ll be with their friends. They’ll be all good things, but in terms of our ability to not only impact them, but just bond with them and enjoy our time with them, these are prime years when we have these young kids. So I think, you with your three and a half year old and me with my seven and four, we are in it and the more we can keep that mindset.

Coach Danny Ray:

Have you ever, I do this all the time, I look back. Let me start with this. I double my life oftentimes. Where I’m 37, so that’s what, 74. I’m about half life right now, right. Essentially half life. But half of this is about 18, right. But at 18, 37 was so far from my imagination, bro. So far. So then I look at my kids and I was like, they’re three. So what were they doing at one and a half, right? Yo, they were walking, you know what I mean? We’re having a good time in that way. We’re struggling. We was just now getting sleep.

But all the bad things that happened a year and a half ago, two years ago, I really don’t remember them. I remember sliding into bed, being like, yo, we made it. I remember that. I remember some times, but I don’t remember the time that my kid was jumping on the couch and I was just so distraught from everything else going on in my life, which has happened, that I’m like, yo, you need to get off the couch now.

And so it’s just that process of being present, aware and in the moment and recognizing where you are, and then recognizing that how quick a week goes by actually, right. Especially, I get my kids all the time, so I am blessed, right. Blessed. But so many of us as fathers and mothers, we go out to our jobs. Like my wife for instance, she’s down there working and stuff, right. She comes back up from the end of the day. She’s at that wall, right. It’s not like it used to be where she gets to drive home. She walks upstairs and boom, kids. And they want her, because it’s mom. She’s been busy working, right. And they’re like, boom, right on her.

And it’s like, me and her have talked about the space she’s in in that moment, right. Because she’s like, I just need a little space. And it’s like, yo, you could take your space in 10 minutes. I swear. And it’s like, that’s all it is. Is they want like five, 10 minutes of good, solid, yo, I hadn’t seen you all day, bro. What’s up? And it’s hard for us to recognize that, right, in the moment. That’s why we have conversations like this, where we get to beat around the bush about somewhat esoteric things, somewhat not.

We get to look at the juxtaposition, we get to do things like that. But when the rubber meets the road, after a conversation like this, it’s not about the information, it’s about that space that you were in when you’re with those kids. And that’s what you get to take home with you, is that space. It’s really not a lot. Whatever that is, take it and get back in it.

Will Braunstein:

I love that. That’s beautiful. And it’s so true. I mean your whole idea of being present and living in the moment, living for your kids and understanding we have a limited amount of time and do our best to make the most of it. And I think also it’s great to be grateful for what we have. Like you said, you spend a lot of time with your kids. I get to spend a lot of time with my kids. Some dads, through no fault of their own, might be separated or divorced and they see their kids a lot less. Imagine seeing your kids half that time or less than that even. So whatever it is, and even if you’re in that situation, better that than not seeing your… Just be grateful for what we have with these little ones.

Coach Danny Ray:

I’m going to agree because I just told you, I have a 17 year old daughter that lives two states away from me. And so the reason why I get to enjoy these two is because of her. I would not have recognized how, A, fast things go, but B, I feel so blessed. I didn’t feel blessed when I was 18 and had a kid outside of wedlock. I wasn’t feeling blessed then. Here we are now and it’s like, wow, I know what it’s like to be separated from my kid.

And what’s interesting from that standpoint is you don’t know your kid. We’re lucky, right. We’re lucky. We don’t recognize how lucky it is for us to get to spend every single night with our kid. How much we know that kid. But can you imagine a 14 year old kid, a dude coming in your house, you never knew him. That happens to people all the time. So just really enjoy your kids.

Will Braunstein:

There’s no telling. No, that’s really powerful. I appreciate you sharing that. Well, thanks for joining us here, Danny. I know we’re on a time crunch a bit here, but really appreciate you joining. This was a great podcast. Again, we can find you on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Can you spell out your profile for us here?

Coach Danny Ray:

It’s D-A-N-N-Y C-O-B-B-I-N. Danny Cobbin. And that’s at all, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Will Braunstein:

Awesome. Well, I’m sure my listeners will be sure to check you out because this was really fascinating. And I know I got a lot. I’m sure they will too. And thanks again for joining us here.

Coach Danny Ray:

Thank you for having me, man.

Will Braunstein:

Awesome. Thanks, Danny.

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