Database Name: dbwzecoixet92g military-veteran-dad-podcast-notes – A Dad’s Path

Transcript: #45 – What Can We Learn About Fatherhood From a Military Veteran Dad?


You can learn a lot from the military. Today we talk to Ben Killoy, the host of the Military Dad Podcast. We have some great exchanges, and Ben provides a ton of wisdom. Here’s a sample:

A Dad’s Path: What did you learn from the military that you can point to and say, this impacts how I am as a Dad?

Military Dad: The most common thing when it comes to the military is learning what doesn’t work as a dad. In the military, people follow orders, but your kids don’t follow orders at home, or you come home, and you bark orders, or often you hold your kids to the same standard as you would at work.


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Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Hi, and welcome to another episode of A Dad’s Path podcast. I’m Will Braunstein. Today’s guest, Ben Killoy grew up in a farm in Southern Wisconsin and joined the United States Marine Corps immediately after high school.

He transitioned out of the military in 2007 and faced many struggles along his path, including dropping out of college, losing a job, all while starting a family.

Through his journey, Ben found a passion for coaching others through life transitions and creating an intentional legacy for his family. Ben now helps other dads find more life by redefining the parameters for living and creating a life worth living and leaving behind. Welcome to the show, Ben.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

I appreciate it. I’m really excited to be here, Will.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Awesome, I’ve been looking forward to this podcast for a while now. And I know you actually have, you have two podcasts. You do, you have a Business of Fatherhood podcast and then Military Veteran Dad podcast.

And as a military veteran, I guess, I’d like to start there. What aspects of being a dad, do you see from your military service? Or in other words, what did you learn from the military that you can point to and say, Yep, that’s showing up as I dad here, as I act as a dad.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

The most common thing when it comes to the military is it’s learning, oh, that doesn’t work as a dad. And that comes from people following orders, but your kids don’t follow orders at home, or you come home and you bark orders, or often you hold your kids to the same standard as you would at work.

So in many cases for a military dad, it’s, unwiring a little bit of that identity. It’s realizing you’re more than just this uniform and identity I’m positive is something we’re going to dive into here. And it’s also as a military dad, there is this distinction that it’s okay to be a military dad.

So many times in the military and it’s empowered in the military. And then it’s even a little bit in the corporate world. Dads don’t have permission to wear the most important title of their life. They have to be this other person. I mean, military units, don’t create a lot of safety to talk about a dad problem, to talk about a family problem. And the military only gets involved when say, when you have a domestic issue or it’s on the negative side and it’s already too late. It’s like, there was an opportunity before something happened for you to create a space for this to get better.

And it’s often as military dad, learning that what you learn at work in this environment is useful, but you can’t apply it in the same way. The same things you learn in leadership do apply at home, but you can’t apply the military tone to them. And you have to unwire that a little bit.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. We talk about that all the time. Just you expect your kids to react like adults, be logical like adults, and they’re kids. They, literally, have kid brains. So it’s a really important distinction in how you’re treating them. And then to your point, also just, there are other aspects of the military that aren’t…

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

The way I always shorten it. Or kind of punch it for people that really get it is, I’m 37 years old. And for the most part, I have very little figured out about life, and about adulting, even at 37. But we have this weird expectation that these human beings that have only been here for my case six years old, seven years and 10 years, that somehow within that time period of having just a little bit of sample data of how life and people work, that somehow they should be more effective at this thing called life than we can. When it, honestly, if you were to admit, I don’t have it figured out, why would I apply that my 10 year old has it figured out? Because they’re trying to figure out what 10 looks like. Just I’m figuring out how to be 37. But we don’t have that mindset. It’s a weird dichotomy. We really apply a perfection mindset to our kids and try to hold them to this standard. But in reality, we’re putting something on them that, literally there’s evidence all across society, that adults are really bad at.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Absolutely. That’s a great way of putting it. We, as dads are all still trying to figure ourselves out and anyone who says they understand it, good for them, but most of us have room to grow, to learn, and things are constantly changing, right? Life is dynamic. And that’s part of the reason why. That’s also why parenting’s so challenging because your kids are always changing on you there. But as you’re becoming a dad, or you become a dad, you’re dadding, so to speak, you’re trying to teach your kids. And at the same time, you’re trying to figure things out.

And I’d love to talk a little bit about that identity of being a stay at home dad, what happens? What’s happening in your head and it’d be helpful to get some advice to new, stay at home dads who have maybe had a career. And now they’re a dad, which is a great thing. A hundred percent a great thing. But at the same time, there’s a little nagging something or a little like, oh, I’m just a dad. It doesn’t, you know what I’m asking?

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

Yes. So a hundred percent. Let’s at first put some words to the feeling that most men don’t really know how to describe because they’re following the blueprint, initially, that we’re told to go provide. Initially you start your family. You’re like, okay, now this is the providing mode that everybody talks about. This is my job. Go off in the world, slay the dragons, kill the lions, and come back and put food on the table. And that’s our default programming is this value of human being as a man comes from providing. And that’s our basic boundary of where we see ourselves. But then we have the courage, and it is a courageous thing, to be a stay at home dad. To realize like, you know what? I think I could be a value and I think I could be good at it. And I want my wife to have what she wants. I want her to go out in the world and be this version of herself that lights you up and is exciting. And I think I can do this.

But what we don’t really understand when we take that decision and make it, we’re essentially letting go of really, the only good set of skill sets that we feel naturally we’re wired to do and what society reinforces us to do, and rewards us. Think of every reward mechanism that a man has, to go off in the world and start a job. The entire system is rigged and reinforced to get you more money, to get you a next promotion, to give you a truck, to give you some type of, for lack of a better word, cocaine that gets you more addicted to it. And then you’re taking it away. And the society does not reward men for being stay at home dads on your worst day.

No, one’s going to come through and say, wow, you really did a good job today. And you’re just going to be like, man, it felt like World War III in here. No one’s going to come by to tell you did a good job. There’s not going to be a performance review where someone gives you a 3% raise, or HR comes in and says, You know what? We really love what you did in that department. Let’s move you to this department.

All of those natural things that we’re baited to go towards are gone. And so the first thing, when you identify and change to be a stay at home, dad is realizing that your value as a human being is still there, but you have to intentionally look for it, notice it, and value different things. Because what you did value is no longer there. And there is a value system as a stay at home dad, but it’s not one that society reinforces with media, TV, or movies. And you have to purposely connect with other, stay at home dads, is the easiest way, and understand, and have conversations, about what they found in their experience. And then adding it to your own.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

I love that. That makes a lot of sense. It is that, I mean, not only society reinforces it, but we’re also often in the middle of it and then suddenly, oh, well it makes sense for one of us to stay home or, Hey, I would like to stay home. Or even, again, actively making the choice, doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice. And whether you’re a stay at home dad or otherwise, we’re super busy, right?

That’s another topic I wanted to talk to you about is just time. Sometimes it feels like you’re just wake up, dad. Do the dishes, do the da da do the chores. Spend a little time on yourself maybe, but how do you stop living your life on autopilot, so to speak, or on survival mode? How do you get refocused? And when you just don’t have time, when you don’t have the energy. What’s worked for you?

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

It’s not so much that you don’t have the energy. And it’s also the autopilot where you don’t purposely set your life on autopilot, but you most, in those cases, you don’t intentionally slow down, and truly ask the question, what do I want? Really, if someone, if I had a genie or come out of a bottle right now and snap his fingers and give me those three wishes, am I living that life that I would ask for? And to me, the energy, the time, the feeling of angst, the anxiety that comes with your day-to-day life, that comes from a disconnect with where you are, and where your soul says you should have been.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And just going on that riff, I think it’s helpful to get out of your head sometimes. Like you’re saying, you make that, if you had a genie. But for me, the kind of power of friendship or your spouse, but sometimes a friend is just somewhat a little bit outside. And when I’m really feeling in a rut, not really realizing it, I’ll go out to have drinks or something with a buddy and we’ll just spout back and forth to each other. And that to me is more medicine and more the balance that can be really important, that can be thrown by the wayside, sort of friendship. Friendship with another male, just hanging out, just that sort of thing.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

SNL did a skit for a man park. And while it was funny and a little bit crude, it had a good message. That men don’t necessarily have places that aren’t necessarily work functions or going out for after five on Friday. Those conversations are still very connected to our identity of work, not the identity of self. And what you said, is essentially creating space, and inviting yourself into places where you just learn to express yourself as you. And this other human being called a friend, actually takes interest in who you are as a person, not what you do, not what that next deal is. And you have conversations about life. And what we’re really talking about here, when it comes to living and understanding, just got to get that feeling of living. Because, one of my messages is there’s more to life than just being alive.

But most men have been taught how to make a living, but only a few have been taught how to live. And we don’t have that native instinct of where we go find living. How do I live? Cause I’ve just been operating on autopilot. And what we’re really talking about is an incapacity to dream, that most men don’t dream. They adopt some version of life when they’re 21, 22, they pursue that career, or that say education. Then they leave, they get a job, they start a family, they get down this path so far that they turn the dreaming mechanism off. And they then double down on what society rewards me for. And then they wonder when they’re 35, why is life not matched the picture on the box of this puzzle? I thought it was. And for me, I can tell you my American dream turned into my American hell, because I realized it wasn’t my dream.

It was the one assigned to me and said here, follow these instructions, put it together correctly. The dream shows up. And I’m like, when it got there, I was like, this does not match the box. Something went wrong. And part of it was, I didn’t listen to myself. I didn’t know who I was and I didn’t know what I could do. I also, coming out of the military, was told life’s about three or four lanes wide. Here they are, there’s rules to them. They have blueprints, you can copy and paste and generally you’re going to get through and find your exit. But really the reality is, life’s a million lanes wide. And just being a stay at home dad, that’s not a lane that people are told about. I wasn’t told about it. And then once I was at a dad convention and I was around other dads and I was like, there’s more of you?

Like, this is the thing. And they’re like, yeah, we got to our own stay at home dad convention. And I was like, wow, I never knew. And that was an entire new ecosystem of people living just like me that I didn’t even know. And it goes back to again, the width, the dreams that how wide you’re actually dreaming with your life. Whether it be, you know what, as a stay at home dad, my wife works remote. Let’s RV it, let’s just be an RV family and just go around the country. Let’s screw the standard American dream and live life on our terms. I can’t tell you how many times, I truly feel in my heart, I’m an RV kinda guy.

If I could go back rewire life and do it a different way, I would not want a house. I would not want the picket fence. I would want an experience where every day I wake up in a new place and I get to see my kids explore life in a way and see it in a way that I never did growing up on a farm. And that to me is where I would find life. Every day I would get excited about opening the doors and be like, is this real? That dream didn’t exist until I heard it. Wasn’t my initial dream. But I had to surround myself with good friends that had that idea and the help of the Instagram algorithm. I’m like, wow, they do this. They actually exist, they’re not unicorns.

And so to me, that part of that dream, the capacity just kind of solidifies why stay at home dads might feel stuck or why they might feel this out of body experience. Is because there’s this set of feelings. There is these set of rules that they were following. They chose to ignore them, but they haven’t maybe invited people into their life to help add new rules, new boundaries, new vocabulary that helps them understand even more. Why does this make sense?

I can tell you for me, when I became a stay at home dad and actually it started a little bit before I lost my job in 2020, my wife went to China for 10 days. And prior to that, she was invited for school to go follow a Chinese school over there. And I was like, I want to be a supportive husband. So I said, yes. And then quickly after I realized like, wait, those are 10 days on me. I’ve never had the kids that long. What did I get myself into here? And for the first five days, it was hard. And for the all 10 days, it was hard.

But by day five, I was in a rhythm. And after those 10 days, nothing else mattered. All I wanted was that experience back, nothing at work mattered. And even in those moments, I realized when I’m 50, I’m never going to wish I worked and did those 10 days together. So I took vacation, because I knew looking back, even when I did become a stay at home dad, I was like, I’m never going to look back when I’m 50 and said like, you really should have got a job that year. Life got really hard and it would’ve been better if you got a job. No, I’m always going to value the memories. Because when, I look at my phone, I don’t remember the emotions of how I felt that day. I just remember and see joy. I see these adventures, I see all of these memories and I learned that feelings are temporary, but memories are forever. And as a stay at home dad, that’s where you’re going to get the value. And that’s where you’re going to get the worth of what you’re getting ready to do.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah. Oh, I love that a hundred percent. I mean we think, Hey, our kids are home till they’re 18. We have a lot of time. But the reality is the teenage years, those are not easy years. Those aren’t the same, hey dad, will you come play with me? Will you hang out? When they’re young, that’s when they really want you. And that’s when you can really leave more of an imprint on them as well. You can always leave an imprint of course, but they’re just so, so much more impressionable at that young age. So if you’re able to spend the time when they want to spend the time with you, I agree. It’s so valuable. And at the same time what you were talking about, the struggle is real. And dreaming is important. You talked about your RV dream and it that might not be a reality, but I think having… It might be for you.

I’m not trying to kill your dreams here, Ben, you didn’t sign up for that on the podcast. But I do think having two things, one is a dream and if the RV isn’t possible because you own your house and you’re not going to convince your wife, Hey, we should sell it with our three kids, et cetera. You still say, okay, well what’s another idea. Maybe it’s a vacation for two weeks or maybe it’s renting our house out for a month while we vacation, do some sort of swap.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

My extreme idea is essentially, because my wife’s a kindergarten teacher, and I work for myself. So the moment school gets out. My full dream is to, if I could, RV the moment school gets out and come back around August 10th and get ready to start school. Let those two months where we live extreme, we live free. We enjoy it to the max. And essentially it’s taken your dreams to understand like, and even more, it’s not so much about the dream. It’s understanding what feelings are those dreams going to create.

And then once you understand what feeling you want from a dream, I’m sure those two months I would feel the exact same way. And I would be meeting myself and experiencing that dream in a different way, but still accessing the same feeling. Because feelings is what we’re craving. It’s just a dream is the vehicle to create it. And there’s a lot, once you understand where you want to go and what it could look like, it’s really easy to reverse engineer it and be like, you know what? It doesn’t need to be that, but this other idea could definitely get some rubber against the road and get us closer.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Oh, I like that a lot. I like that a lot. And along those lines, I think it’s helpful to have something extra. Like, I mean you’re extra, you’re an entrepreneur. As an example, you’re a stay at home dad, also an entrepreneur. And whatever it is, if even if you’re driving for DoorDash for one evening a week or so but just having something that’s outside of your normal day to day, something to maybe keep you in that mindset. If you’re struggling with being a stay at home dad that might be helpful. Or typically something more, I would almost say hustle oriented where you can do it. You can make money while you’re being a dad, right? If you’re selling things over the internet, for example.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

And the hardest part about what you’re challenging us to do is you have to have a deeper understanding of who you are, that’s outside the world of how man are classified. It’s not a title, there’s no salary assigned to it, but you have to understand that, you know what, I really love woodworking or I really love connecting or I really love filling the blank. Understanding those moments where all the lights come on and just taking notes. That to me is more important. Because then you have kind of these breadcrumbs or framework to build a house of your dreams. And not that literal sense of a house of your dreams, but this idea of what this alternative reality that’s different, but still provides everything that normally I could provide. And understanding that there’s something basic and fundamental, especially for as a stay at home dad.

And as you’re isolated, you’re taking care of kids. It’s really important to connect. So there’re groups like city dads groups, where dads are connecting all across the country for special play dates where it’s just dads. And the reason why these are so important is because a big portion of your growth, your understanding of yourself for rewiring your soul to understand how can I get through the next six years if you’ve got one kid or however often you reset it to be a stay at home dad. Part of those conversations begin on the other side of hello. And so part of my mindset is, I’m always one hello from changing my life. Or give me insight into myself that I need to know. And if I never say hello, I’ll never learn that. So understanding that the gateway to everything that I just talked about is right on the other side of one word, and I consider it the most powerful word in the human language. Because on the other side is literally a conversation that could change how you see the world.

This conversation could be literally one that changes how you see yourself. Now this wasn’t introduced with hello. Well actually, maybe you said hello. I can’t fully remember. But on the other side of hello is this idea that could impact you. And other human beings have different experiences and they have different struggle and that person might have the cheat codes for something that you need and you might have the cheat codes for something that he needs.

And I always like to explain like a barrel of monkeys. You should always have one hand up asking for help from people ahead of you, and always have one hand behind you because there’s people that need to know how to cross that crucible that you just crossed. And that connected feeling is how we get through life. But men have been told that we need to isolate. We need to already know all the answers that somehow it was downloaded into us and we’re just the idiot that can’t figure out how to turn it on. Even though, every man can’t figure out how to turn it on. But we haven’t been had the honest conversation of being able to talk to each other about it.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s right. That’s right. Well, I’m raising my hand here and asking for an area that I know you have some expertise in, or you’ve spent some time on which are consequences. And I think you’re an advocate for something called scream free parenting. Is that right? And I’d love to hear kind of what that is, and your experience there.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

So this is one of those, how life is always happening for you, not to you. Because it was born out of a moment where I yelled at my daughter. And it was a bad day and I’m not proud of it, but I sat down on this computer and I Googled that night, how to stop screaming at your kids. And this book popped up scream free parenting. And I’m like, well, that seems a winner. And it was written by Hal Runkel. So I download on Audible, I start listening to it and I’m like, wow, where has this book been all my life? And I got so involved with it that I then became certified in it and worked with Hal to be trained in the principles. And essentially the basic idea of scream free parenting is that parenting has nothing to do with kids. And parenting has everything to do with us. That our kids are the mirror of what we pass down from behaviors, reactions, responses.

And so if we don’t the way something’s going, it’s generally because we gave them the wrong model. And the premise of the book is this idea that we accept responsibility for our kids way more than we need to. We spend the first two years of their life doing something or everything for them in the next 16, unwiring it. And trying to get them, hopefully be able to do it by the time they turn 18 so they can turn into a successful adult. But the problem is, we as parents, we still accept responsibility for our kids’ behavior, for their issues, for their problems. And what I learned through this process is when you take responsibility for someone else’s issue, whether it be kids, whether it be a fight, doesn’t really matter, applies in all categories of life. But when you take responsibility for something, you’re taking responsibility from them to get better.

So every time that you clean your kid’s room, you’re taking responsibility for them to do it. And every time you do it for them, there is zero incentive for them to eventually learn how to do it themselves. And while it’s this difficult process, the idea of scream free parenting is that the only obligation we have to our kids is to be the best version we have or we can be, to them. If we truly want to be good parents, we need to be a healthy billboard of what an adult looks like. At a core basic, the idea of you shouldn’t scream at your kids. And if you do, it’s not because your kids triggered you. They’re not that powerful. It’s because you have some story inside that you probably haven’t dealt with, or some type of insecurity that triggered you to scream. And it’s this basic idea that the invitation to be scream free is actually an invitation as you, as an adult to grow up. That parenting is an invitation for your own maturity to finally reach its full potential.

And each one of those moments where you scream, that’s actually a piece of immaturity inside you that you need to bring some intention to, figure out why that triggers you. And realize my five year old shouldn’t be that powerful to trigger a grown adult to scream at them. But they did. Is that her fault? No, they’re just good at pushing buttons. It’s my fault. It’s my response. Our responses are the only thing that we can control in life. And your response is the obligation that you have to them, be a cool, calm, collective adult that can represent that no matter what you say, I’m not going to be mad. I’m going to be upset and there will be consequences, but you always have a choice. You can choose to do this the way we talked about, or you can do this way and I’ll enforce consequence and I’m perfectly fine either way.

I won’t get mad, and I’ll respect your choice. And sometimes they’re going to choose a negative one as a test. But as an adult, you just accept it. Like, yeah, this is what they chose. They’re accepting responsibility for the choice, the consequence to go with it and realizing my response is cool, calm and collective. And it’s when we lose sight of that. That’s when things get crazy. That’s when our immaturity is at the height. And even one of my proudest moments or where I feel like I’ve really gone to come light years on this topic is when it feels the house is emotionally burning down. And I’m just like, you know what? This is just what fatherhood looks like today.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

I love that. Yeah, the cool calm collected. And to me, the image of a firefighter comes to mind, right? Things are heated up in the kitchen. It’s dinner time, kids are cranky, wife stressed, and then you can react in one of two ways. Right? And the cool, calm and collected way is the right way. Or the way that will yield the most fruit. Right.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

And even like, I’ve learned my six year old definitely recovers the most from my learnings, because she’s at the bottom of the age group. And so different things like she’s a six year old emotional girl. And even today she came home. She was really upset because she didn’t get to let the dog out of his Kendall and she just was burning down emotionally inside. And now I could have been like, stop it, control yourself, get back into… Again, why would I have her be something that I struggled to be myself? And accepting her like, okay, this is where she’s at. This is her experience. This is what she’s expressing. And I always try to have every emotion be safe. You’re meant to express your emotions and get through them, not suppress them. So essentially what I did, I picked her up, I went to the couch and I just started talking to her, asked her questions.

She was telling me about some different things. She told me that she was upset about something else at school that happened. And then, we starting switching to lunch and the emotion was completely gone and her attitude completely changed. And I could have completely gone, had an opposite experience and it could burned down the rest of the day to be honest. And all she needed to do was just be heard, understood, validated a little bit and get through it. Even other times where she’s really crying or emotionally. My biggest thing I do with her, is I sit down on the stairs or wherever we’re at. And I was like, let’s take a few deep breaths together. Cause when a child lids flipped, essentially oxygen is the way you close the lid, which is why meditation and breathing is so important. So we take a few deep breaths, which then calms the nervous system. It gets oxygen back to the brain and we can get through it.

We can talk about it. And sometimes there’re consequences because it may not work. But your response in that moment is everything. Because that’s the only thing you can control. You can’t control another human being. You can’t control your wife, you can’t control your kids. And you’re also, this is also why this is important, is you’re not responsible for their happiness. And again, if you take responsibility for their happiness, you’re taking responsibility from them to be happy on their own, which just creates depressed adults and future therapy appointments. They need to be able to understand how to intuitively be happy on their own, you as their guide of what happy looks like and represent what that can look like. And also be the guide to help them discover who they are. You can’t do that if your model of the universe is you’re teaching them.

And this is essentially, I can tell you when I coach dads, this is the outcome. Is if a boy learned that when he expressed an emotion, his dad went to a level 10, either yelled or I’ll give you something to cry about, or any of the stereotypical things that a bad dad would say. He trains his son that when I expressed an emotion I’m bad. And essentially the entire circuit board gets powered down. And the entire room of our mental, emotional health is off. And then as adults, we wonder, I’m holding my child, but I don’t feel anything. And I don’t know why. I’m told I’m supposed to feel something, but I don’t. This is supposed to be the best moment in my life but I don’t feel anything. Because early on he learned that emotions are bad. So he turned all those circuits off.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

No, that’s as you said, being a bad dad. And we know that and you know our listeners, yours and mine, the ones listening right now, are not bad dads because a big tenant of being a good dad is saying, Hey, I’m not always proud of a hundred percent of what I do, but when I’m not, I’ll take stock of it. And I’ll try and do better next time. And that’s all we can do.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

To me, my basic measurement of a good dad is just expressing a willingness to get better. Yeah. And realizing that I don’t have it, but demonstrating that willingness is key. Because if you’re willing to grow, there’s no limit. But if you feel that your kids just need to adapt to your personality or that you have anxiety and your kids need to help you manage it. It’s not your kids’ job to manage your anxiety. It’s not your wife’s job to manage your anxiety. It’s not your wife’s job to manage your anger. It’s not your kid’s job to try to help you not be an angry asshole. These are your responsibility. And your willingness to explore that on the inside, which is something we’ve been talking about this entire time. That willingness is the only doorway that I know through it.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s very well said. Very well said. I have one more question before we wrap up here, Ben, and that’s about your bio. In your bio here, through his journey, Ben found a passion for coaching others through life transitions and creating an intentional legacy for his family. What does that mean? An intentional legacy. What does that mean to you and how do you talk to other dads about that?

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

What I’ve learned in my own story is that there’s what I call the three Ls to life. Lead, love, and legacy. The lead is if you can’t lead yourself, nothing else matters. If you can’t emotionally take care of yourself, if you can’t emotionally healthy, take care of yourself and lead yourself to get better. And that exempt that willingness and be an example that’s worth following, the other stuff doesn’t matter. The love component leads into what I unconditionally love all the areas of my life, the good, the bad and the ugly. And by doing that, I invite to be able to provide unconditional love to others. And if I don’t love who I am, I’m waiting for the external universe to love me back, which it doesn’t. Short story for that. You can wait your entire life. No one’s going to validate enough love that you could feel I’m complete. You only can do that. So loving your story, loving who you are, allows you to bring love into your house.

The third component, legacy, is creating a human being worth following to help your kids become something that they can be, that they were designed and feel wired to do. And as a dad, more importantly, the fundamental thing that I believe, is what we do here is dads is important, but the measurement of our quality will be what we leave behind. And you’ll be measured by on the quality of your being a human being. Based on 20 years after you’re gone, what kind of adult did you put into the world?

Your legacy of all your choices, your legacy of being a stay at home dad, is intentionally making a massive deposit, massive. Right now, that planting seeds in a garden that you never may get to see grow. Understanding that the legacy of what you do here is in everything that they do. And realizing that no matter how many people, even for me, even no matter how much either of us help dads in any given day, we would always have more benefit to make and leave something bigger by focusing on our kids. That giving them the tools to do anything that they want, to give them…

I often say, I don’t want my kids to have a better life. I want my kids to be a more capable life than I had. Capability is what we’re passing on. Your legacy of capability that you give them. Did you give one where they feel that they’re the victim, or did you give one where they don’t need me to pass down a fortune or 10 million dollars because I taught them how to make it. That is legacy. And that is what most men don’t spend time dreaming about.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s incredibly powerful and very true. That’s a fantastic way and note for us to end on, thinking about our legacy and those three aspects, lead, love, and legacy. That was perfect. Ben, really appreciate you joining me. Again, you can find Ben on the Military Veteran Dad podcast and releasing daily, Business of Fatherhood podcast. So that’s a great one to check out as well. And for all types of dads here. Thanks again for joining us, Ben, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

I appreciate it. And if anybody wants to reach out, you can also add to and has everything collected there, at as well. And I appreciate you Will, for allowing me to share my story. And just honoring you, your willingness to host these conversations to invite these conversations is creating ripples and ponds that we don’t ever fully get to see. But this, I mean, fatherhood is connected to almost every societal issue that we have today. And it’s the magic trick no one’s paying attention to, but we are creating the next line of solutions to problems that seem escapable.

And one dad coming home to his family, impacting his kids or one dad choosing to be a stay at home dad. Those kids could learn to change the world. And literally there’s examples all throughout history of one person without them, that life would be completely different. One dad did that. One dad has the ability to influence that. And I just really appreciate you Will and allowing me to share my story today.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah, likewise. Not only sharing your story, but we share an equal mission helping dads and just any dads we can help, including ourselves, makes the world a better place. Well, thanks Ben. Take care. We’ll see you soon.

Ben Killoy, Military Dad :

You too.