Being a good parent is hard. Justin Batt, the founder of the Daddy Saturday Foundation, joins us for a conversation about how to be an intentional parent. He gives tips for how to create one on one moments with your children, and what to do now that most of them are home from school. We also wanted to help you out and give you some April Fools pranks you can pull on those unsuspecting family members.
Tyler: Welcome to the Construction Brothers Podcast. I'm your host, Tyler Campbell, and with me like he is every week: my brother, Eddie Campbell.
Eddie: Hello, Tyler.
Tyler: Hello, Eddie.
Tyler: We've got a great show for you today. We're going to be talking to Daddy Saturday founder, Justin Batt. Stay tuned for that. First things first, I would like to bring something to your attention.
Tyler: Justin, thanks for joining us today, man. Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
Justin Batt: Yeah, thank you guys. Glad to be here. So my name is Justin Batt. I'm the founder and Chief Data Officer of Daddy Saturday and the Daddy Saturday Foundation, which is a movement to help dads be more intentional and engaged with their kids, to reignite fathers, to change fatherhood, and to end the fatherlessness epidemic that we have in our country and around our world.
Tyler: So why did you start this?
Justin Batt: Yeah, great question. So, over a decade ago, my wife was leaving the teaching industry and going into start her own business, a bridal boutique. I was in Corporate America trying to ascend that corporate ladder, and found myself with a wife who had just started a brand new business in retail and a brand new baby girl. I was at home with her at two weeks old on Saturday all day by myself, because my wife had to work her store, wearing all the hats as an entrepreneur, as many entrepreneurs can relate to. Add three more kids to the mix after that—I had three boys in a row with my wife—and so now, we had four kids, and I was at home on those Saturdays, still with all those kids, and found myself stressed out, tired, overwhelmed, overcome, often feeling inadequate and what I call a “dad hangover” on most of those Saturdays. I wanted to be there with my kids, but at the same time, I wanted time for myself, and I recognized I wasn't getting the best out of those days with my kids. It was a blessing, but at the same time it was sometimes considered a burden. I shifted my perspective and just said, I want to be intentional. I want to be engaged. I want to create these epic moments with my kids on these Saturdays that I have with them, because time is limited with them in the home. We started to plan our days together and create a game plan, and I just immediately noticed this immense change in our relationship, in our engagement, our communication, even the relationship with my wife. It all started to change because of those Saturdays together. It wasn't long before my kids midweek started asking, “Dad, what are we doing on Saturday?” And one of my sons—my middle son, Mason—said, “Dad, what are we doing for Daddy Saturday?” I'm like, yes, that's it, you named it, we're claiming it! And so we started calling it “Daddy Saturday.” Then about two years ago I did a TEDx on fatherlessness, and I recognized that there was this massive epidemic in our world, and in our country, where there's a lack of biological fathers that are still living in the home. In fact, today, most people don't even know that more children are born out of wedlock than they are born in wedlock. We have more kids being born today without a dad than with a dad. So the problem’s only getting worse. Additionally, we've got a bunch of dads who are like I was: in the home, physically present, but emotionally absent a lot of the time, focused on career, focused on other things. That's the group that I really wanted to go after, and I said, I've got a solution, I've got a way that I can help them be intentional, be engaged, and reignite their fatherhood and their role with their children. So that's when it all began, and now it's a national movement—international movement, in fact. We've got a gentleman in Kenya and a gentleman in Romania who have started Daddy Saturdays over there and we're just working to help dads all across the world engage their kids.
Eddie: That is really cool. I want to know what constitutes a Daddy Saturday. What kind of things did you start doing with them?
Justin Batt: Yeah, so, we looked for what we had around the house. I would watch—I would call it my “Daddy Saturday Lab”—and I'd go into my lab on Wednesday nights or Friday nights and I'd watch YouTube videos. I'd look for, like, what are the cool challenges or the cool games that people were doing, and how could we replicate those or make them even bigger and better? I started to channel my inner Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, remember that show? And it was always [grunts], you know, how can I do things even bigger and better? So we tried to do that in our own backyard. I built obstacle courses, we did scavenger hunts, we built race tracks. We have a trampoline in our backyard, and so we would soup up the trampoline by putting out a baby pool full of water on it or tons of water balloons. We did Slip ‘N ‘Slides side by side with a trap door, and you’d slide through one of the different doors and there'd be whipped cream and shaving cream on the other side you'd have to go through. We did slime battles, we did egg tosses and marshmallow tosses. I mean, you name it, right? We just did whatever we could find around the house, ideas that I would come up with midweek to plan our day together, and it was always an activity where we were intentional and engaged. Of course, you know, weather dictated that a lot of the times. So if we had to be indoors, it was, “What can we do inside versus our outdoor activity?” and making the most of it. And you know, I'll tell you what was interesting, was there were more times than not that I would build these ideas up in my head and as most dads do, right, we've got the Chevy Chase mentality where we build these things up and they're grand and grandiose in our minds... and then trying to actually make it happen in real life, it just doesn't work, right? One of the kids doesn't participate, or somebody's sick, or somebody has a bad attitude, or the thing fails. But those were actually some of our best moments together and some of the most important moments for me as a father to learn how to work through those times and engage my kids.
Eddie: That's really cool stuff. You know, I'm really wondering, too: you’ve gone from probably Daddy Saturday to, like, Daddy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday right now, right? So I mean, the landscape's changed. What did the schedule look like before all of the COVID stuff started for you?
Justin Batt: Yeah. I'll tell you, you know, the name is Daddy Saturday because my kids affectionately named it that. And for me, that was my scenario, because I was at home all day on Saturdays with my kids because my wife worked. But the whole principle and the concept and what we tried to convey in the book is that it is Daddy Every Day, right? That the principles of Daddy Saturday are about being intentional and engaged, and that doesn't just start and end on Saturdays, right? That is every day of the week, and how do you figure that out? So before COVID, before this crisis, I started focusing a lot on one-on-one time with each of my kids during the week. It could be 15 minutes, 30 minutes—just pulling each of them. With four kids, I mean, that was a lot, but we focused on going for a bike ride, taking the dog for a walk, going out and hitting balls in the park, or just going for a walk together, whatever it may be. It was just one-on-one time with each of my kids to talk about life, talk about where they are, talk about our relationship, and just make sure I was connecting on that level. The other thing we did was with my daughter. I have one daughter and three boys; the daughter’s the oldest. We do a monthly daddy-daughter date night. So we just keep that on the calendar. It's on the books, it doesn't get moved no matter what. So we pulled that, and it's been immense in terms of my relationship with my daughter and building that out. So we're doing a lot of those things. The final thing I'll mention, is we have a morning routine that we all do before school. The kids wake up, they make their bed first thing—it's not, like, militant, but they do their best to make their bed. It helps them accomplish something first thing when they start their day. Then they go out and drink a glass of water—we’re often dehydrated—it's a good way to start their day, be healthy. Then they do a little exercise routine, they do some burpees and pushups, and now they're at the point where they just kind of lead it themselves. It's great for the boys, they get some energy out, get some movement. We say, “movement causes momentum,” and so it gets ‘em moving and gets their day started on the right note, and they get a good breakfast and they're ready out the door for school. So we were already doing that, and a lot of those things we've continued now with this, the homeschool environment that we're in. So we've found that those principles that were already in place have helped us immensely during this time because it's helped us maintain a sense of normalcy, right? The kids still do the same thing. They don't just get up now and watch TV first thing because they're at home. They didn't do that when we were in school, they don't do that now. So that's helped a lot. I think the biggest difference is just the sheer amount of time that they're at home. And it's all digital, right, they're all in the computer. So we try to break that up a lot. We let them go for about an hour at the most. Hour and a half, they start to get squirrely, stir-crazy. So we break it up. I am our official PE teacher for the family, as you can imagine. So PE and lunch are my responsibilities. My wife, being a former teacher, she's taking the load of the heavy schoolwork and, you know, we've done a lot to help break up the day. So if we start to see them get a little bit stir-crazy, we get them outside and we get them moving a little bit. I've incorporated some fun games. We did a—we called it the “zoo relay” the other day, and each of the kids picked an animal. I participated, and we had to run down and back across the yard as the way that that animal would run. So they did a falcon, a cheetah, a bear, bear crawl. And then my daughter picked a flamingo, so we had to hop on one foot all the way down and back like a flamingo. But it was hilarious. We were all laughing. I was out of breath when we got done and you know, the kids were then re-centered and went back inside and they got back to work. So a lot of the things that we've done prior to, we've tried to keep going. I would say the one biggest change for me, personally, is just the fact that the kids are there all day. And you know, if I could, I'd love to play with them all day, but I gotta still work. So it's been finding ways to say, how do I create some margin in my day where I can either end early or create some time around lunch or take a pause during the day to go and engage the kids and to do those things? I want to keep that going and I want to continue that even after this crisis ends, so that I still have that opportunity to engage my kids. Maybe when they get home from school at the end of the day, quickly, and then pick them back up at dinnertime again.
Eddie: You know, I had the experience before we came in-office here of working out of my house, and having kids that homeschooled. So we were all there at the house a lot. The environment looked a lot like what you're describing. One thing that I know is that that doesn't solve the problem of engagement. You still have to be purposeful. Just because you're around doesn't mean you're engaged. You know, you have to take time and be a little purposeful about that. And work's always there. That's the one thing I noticed about being at home and working: I'm always at work. So I had to draw lines, and you have to be a little more purposeful about those lines, too. Speak to that a little bit. I mean, you seeing any of the same, just being there, just getting some clean lines drawn where you can be purposeful with your time, and you’re Dad now and you're working in another time?
Justin Batt: Yeah. So, I think it's interesting because, you know, people will say—Let's use exercise as an example. They'll say, well, you know, before this crisis I didn't work out because I didn't have enough time. And then they're still not working out in this crisis. Clearly, they have the time. So it was never about the time, it was about them. I would say the same thing is true about being an engaged parent or an engaged father, right? You said I didn't have the time before, and now you have this extra time, but you're still not engaging your kids. Well, it's not about the time, it's about you and your approach to the perspective. So I think a lot of it is really understanding how you build margin into your day. Margin is so important. For me, I get up early before the kids. I have a routine I do every morning: I get in my Bible, I do my devotional, I talk with God for a while, I pray, I go exercise, and I get my mind, my body, my spirit and everything right with myself before I engage my family. When I do that, I'm now ready to prepare and I'm ready to engage my day. Right? If those anxieties, if those moments, if those disruptions, the kids being home come into my day at that point, I'm ready to handle that because I've taken care of it and I've gotten everything right and centered before I even start my day. So I think that's one key piece. I think the other thing is that, you know, focus is also so important. I've found myself just time-blocking really well, and this has caused me to have to time-block even more where I say, hey, during this time it's deep work time, right? Do not disturb. I put my little cone outside the door. The kids know in my office, I have a little orange construction cone, literally. They know when that cone’s out there, Dad's doing deep work, so just don't come in, right? Or I'm on a call. Then when that cone goes away, I'm going through emails and doing things that aren't as important, where if I lose my focus, it's okay. So I've also created that space where I protect that time that I need to get things done in, and that's allowed me to be far more productive and far more efficient during my day. It works better for both of us, because then I don't get frustrated if they barge in and interrupt me, and they know the appropriate time to do so.
Tyler: You took my “creating a margin” question.
Eddie: I didn’t mean to, like steal it or anything.
Tyler: You just stole it. I wrote it down for me, you jerk. Alright. What are some of the books that kind of inspired you to start doing that? Because I know I've heard a lot of people talk about this, but what are some of the books and tools that you've found over the years?
Justin Batt: Yeah, so there's a new book that just came out, and in fact I had him on my podcast yesterday, his name's Dave Hollis and he's got a book called Get Out of Your Own Way. And I love—Dave talks about a lot of the failures in his life and then tips that he's learned of how to get through those moments, and it's very practical, very tangible. One of the things he talks about a lot is the fact that we need to have if-then statements. So if we want to have margin in our life, then we have to get up early in the morning. If you want to get up early in the morning, then we have to go to bed at a decent hour in the evening, so we can't watch TV. It's all these if-then statements. I love that because it simplifies the process of creating margin, if you want to have margin in your life, and there are certain things you need to do in order to have that margin and to maintain it. I think that's critical. Charles Duhigg also wrote a book called The Power of Habits and it talks a lot about keystone habits. Keystone habits are habits that are building block habits for everything else. I hate to keep talking about it, but you can tell it's really important to me and it's changed my life, is getting up early in the morning. That morning time is so powerful. So he talks about the fact that you exercise early in the morning and get that done in sort of the first part of your day, that’s a keystone habit because then when you get to lunch and you have a choice between pizza or a salad, the likelihood of you choosing pizza after you've gotten up and worked out in the morning is less likely because innately you just say, I've taken care of myself, I'm trying to better myself. I'm going to choose the salad. Right? Everything in life works that way when you put keystone habits in place. So those are two books that really helped me reframe this concept of margin and building margin into your life. The last one I would say is The Power of Moments. Two authors, don't remember the names off the top of my head, but that book was also great because it really reframed this concept of what Daddy Saturday is and how important creating those moments are with your family and with your kids, and you need to have margin to be able to do that. Because it's how you show up that enables you to create those moments. If you have no margin, if you're stressed out, if you have that dissonance or that tension, that work-life tension between work and home and your time, then it's really hard to show up in the right way and oftentimes that comes because you've lost the margin in your life. I talk about margin instead of balance, too, because I think balance is a myth. I don't ever think it's possible to achieve work-life balance. I think you're always going to have tension there. You're always going to have dissonance, but when you build margin in and keep that margin and preserve it, it allows you to manage that tension in an effective way.
Eddie: Man, I couldn't agree more on the balance thing. I have been drummed on, and isn’t there a little bit of a guilt formed about this whole balance thing? And man, life does not hand itself or lend itself to just being balanced constantly. Life is constantly out of balance. It's constantly throwing you new things. So like, Tyler's life right now with a one-year-old looks a lot different than my life, where my youngest is three. We kind of throw that on top of somebody, and it's almost a burden to carry around at times. Whereas if we reframe that, maybe we can live this out and and use it a little better.
Justin Batt: Yeah, I think you're exactly right. We have to acknowledge the fact that if you have an imbalanced life and that's the life that you live in, then just acknowledging that is freedom. Because I think it allows you to say, you know what? Instead of trying to achieve something that’s not possible, it’s an ideal that cannot be attained. Then to say, my life is going to be imbalanced. So if I have an imbalanced life, then what do I need to do in order to show up the way that I want to show up amongst all that chaos? And you know, again, for me, that's my centering point in the beginning of the day, right? It's creating those one-on-one moments with my kids. It's being intentional. All those things allow me to operate in the imbalanced life that I have.
Tyler: I think that's one thing that I've learned a lot about this past year, too. Because Ellie's our first, and my gosh, you just have to embrace the imbalance. Because you'll think, oh yeah, I think she's going to sleep well tonight. And then she doesn't. You know? And that throws you off your game massively. For the longest time, I remember drumming on you about this, too.
Tyler: You’ve got to create balance, you've got to create balance. Then you kept pushing back at me, too—as he does—so yeah, I think I've started to realize that more and more over the past year, with Ellie. She's—Man, I tell you what. They're the best teachers.
Eddie: So you got any advice for parents that are, I'll say, “stuck” working from home right now? That's a not a great way to frame it, but, they're at home, what opportunities does this create?
Justin Batt: It creates a tremendous amount of opportunities. I'll give you three. So the first one is, I think we all need to remember that we need to look at the situation through the eyes of a child. It's so easy as adults to view this situation through our set of circumstances. Go back to 9/11. Go back to natural disasters when you were a kid. Go back to things in your past when you were far younger, right? Look at the perspective of how you viewed those things and what you remembered coming out of those situations. I think that if we do this right as parents, that when we go down the road and our kids are in high school and college and they look back on this and they say, hey Dad, what was it like being in the Coronavirus of 2020? What was it like with COVID-19? And they ask that question just like some people ask about 9/11 when they were younger. You’ve got to answer that question. You're going to say, well, the economy tanked, you know, the markets were going crazy. There were people dying everywhere. People were quarantined in their house for weeks or months on end. The grocery stores had no food, bread, eggs, and milk. Right? As a parent and as an adult, that's how we view things. But I think our kids are going to go—If we say, what did you remember from that time? They're going to say, it was awesome. I remember it being like we were on summer break for two months. You were home all the time, Dad, and we got to play and we did games and family game night and we cooked together, and I remember it being awesome. So if we do it right, that's the memory that our kids can take out of this. But in order to do that, we have to look at it through the eyes of a child. I interviewed my kids the other day. We were sitting around the table, they were doing their homework. I just randomly asked my five-year-old, Easton, I said, “Hey Easton, what does the COVID, Coronavirus mean to you?” And he's like, “Um, it's, it's bad.” I was like, “Okay, what's bad about it?” He's five, and he's like, “Well, it's, um, it makes people sick.” I was like, “Okay, that’s true. What happens if they get sick?” He goes, “Oh, they throw up.” And I was like, “Yeah, that's true. They probably throw up.” Like, that's his idea of what's going on right now. It's bad, people get sick, and they throw up. Right? I loved it because we didn't frame it. It was just raw and that's his perception of what's going on at this moment. We've got a tent in our living room right now and the kids are playing in the tent, having a blast. They slept in it the other night. Like, that's his perspective of what's going on. So I say that to say, it's really important. Look through this situation through the eyes of a child, or your child, to give the right perspective and the opportunity that we have together. Second one is—this is a construction term you guys will love—you've got to demo your day. And what I mean by “demo day” is, this is a chance to reconstruct or rearchitect the type of day that you have, the way you interact with your kids, the way that you engage them. We talked a lot already about the one-on-one time, the being present, the creating that space to engage your kids. You're doing things today like, you may come in and sit down with your kids during lunchtime or help make lunch for your kids. Well, why don't you carve out a day or two a week where you go and join your kids at their school for their school lunch? Right? I'm so guilty of that. I think about it all the time and I just don't do it. Well, now I have the opportunity, so I'm time-blocking my calendar right now and I'm putting those events on my calendar and I'm creating continual appointments, recurring appointments. So when this thing gets over, I've now constructed a day where I've brought my kids and my family and that being present into my average day, into my average week where I'm much more engaged and I'm creating those opportunities to do so. So this is a great time to reframe, to refresh and to demo your current day and to build the day in the life that you ultimately want. I think the last thing is that far more is caught than taught. It's a really important concept to understand as a parent. You can try and teach your kids, we're all trying to teach our kids at home right now through homeschool, but the way you act, the way you handle the situation, are you dealing with the fear and panic and anxiety and worry and all of those—the frustration, potentially—all those things that are the negatives. How are you managing those? And how are you showing up in front of your kids? They're going to catch far more of how you handle crisis, how you handle difficulty, how you handle challenges during this time just by watching and observing you and you as parents, as a couple, than they are through anything that you can teach them during this time and going forward. So those are three things that I think are paramount and really critical. The last one, I’m gonna add this as a bonus, is one thing I've done in life is I've tried to make myself comfortable being uncomfortable. I started doing Spartan races, obstacle course races, a couple of years ago and just love them and they've transformed my life. My kids do them as well. They're great because they push you to overcome obstacles. They're extremely physically demanding, but they're far more mentally grueling than they are the physical challenge of it. I've also put those practices in place in my daily life. I take cold showers in the morning. It's miserable, every time I do it I hate it. But I do it every single day because I don't want to get in, but I force myself to do it. I put myself in uncomfortable situations all the time, uncomfortable conversations that I need to have. It sounds strange, but I am more comfortable, I'm at peace during this time because I've been in those situations so many different times. And I think that's an important principle. You may not have done that prior to this, but you now have a chance to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and it’ll only help you because this is probably not going to be our last crisis as we go forward.
Tyler: It strikes me that you're a very disciplined person, mainly because take cold showers in the morning. So I'm curious, what got you to that point? You know, like what kind of developed that discipline that you now embrace so much every single day?
Justin Batt: That's a great question. What I would say is that I have—I played sports growing up, the entire time. I've always had that kind of innate discipline where I would try to do things that other people weren't doing. I'd put in the extra hours, do the extra reps, take the extra, you know, batting practices or on the football field, whatever it was. I put that time in and I put the work in and many times I saw the results, but at the same time I just continued that as I got older. I can say from from 17 until today, I haven't missed more than a week of exercising or working out. I haven't taken more than a week off in 20 plus years—I’m 39 today—and a lot of that was due to my discipline, but it was also due to the fact that that's something that I wanted that was important to me in life. However, a lot of my workouts were just going through the motions, and it wasn't until I started setting a goal, setting an event that I had to train for and work towards that it totally reframed my discipline and my perspective. Because what I recognized, and Spartan races were a big part of that, was that if I was going to go and not just get through a race, but if I was going to go and be competitive—competing with myself, nobody else—and do the best that I could possibly do, the level that I had to be at both physically and mentally to be able to do my best to compete at that level required me to take my game to an entirely different perspective and approach things with a velocity that I didn't have before. So I just found that the discipline is a form of habits and rituals. And when you form habits and rituals and you repeat those with consistent focus over time, it ends up giving you the result that you're after. For me, the cold showers, all those things were just ways to push myself to the next level and enhance what I was doing. And the final piece is, I've just studied a lot of other people and I looked at what breeds success. People that I respect and want to emulate certain areas of their life, and I see what they do and I follow some of those tendencies, and it's caused me to have success in my own life as well.
Eddie: I want to discern a difference between just coming up with events that we're doing with our kids and being engaged, being purposeful in what I've heard called the ministry of presence. I think the first person I ever heard say that what you're teaching is far more caught than taught was D. A. Carson. I just kind of took that to heart and went, wow, you know, that's great. I also, I don't know if it was him, heard the term a ministry of presence. When I first heard that, I just thought, wow, okay, I'm going to be there and be engaged. This has to have purpose. So you're not after people to fill up their calendars with stuff to do with your kids. The stuff to do with your kids is a byproduct of the fact that you're just engaging them where they're at in a way that kind of brings them out. So the events draw them out, right? That's kind of the purpose of this thing, is draw them out and get them in a place where you and they are both in a new spot together.
Justin Batt: Yeah. So think about it, right, what's the one thing today that's probably the biggest disruptor, biggest distraction to enabling the ministry of presence? It's technology, right? So for me, the ministry of presence is just eliminating technology. So I use technology as a method of maybe finding the ideas or creating the opportunity, but then we remove the technology from the equation when we're actually engaging with each other. Because I found that it's an inhibitor of true engagement. It's a distraction point. And it's amazing. It doesn't have to be all day, like I'm not saying you have to spend eight hours with your kids on Saturdays. It could be an hour, it could be 30 minutes. But if that 30 minutes is fully present, fully engaged, and you're interacting together, that 30 minutes can be so powerful, and that's what we call epic. Because you're there, you're experiencing it. I think the other power of the ministry of presence is also, when you're in those moments, I’ve learned more about my kids simply through observation than I actually have engaging my kids. Because oftentimes when we're doing those events, I kind of zoom out and have a chance just to sit there and watch them and observe them for a minute. Put myself—I'm not behind the camera, right, I'm just watching my kids. And you see their personalities come out, you see their tendencies, you see their attitudes, their actions, and you learn so much about your kid just by being there and being present through observation. I recognize how many moments I missed in the past because I was there, but I wasn't all the way there. I think that that's how I define presence, is the observation piece, when you're picking up those small little nuggets, those little idiosyncrasies of who your kids are, how they are, what they're called to do. I would say time with your kids is better than no time with your kids, but there is absolutely a difference in fully engaged time versus just being with your kids.
Tyler: I think there's a blessing in what's going on right now. I know it's kind of weird to say, but at least for me, when we were talking beforehand, I was talking about how now that I'm working from home, I have my daughter coming in the door and, you know, toddling over with her milk and sitting on my lap and watching me work. It's simple, I'm not getting down on the floor and really playing with her or anything like that—but honestly, just being there has been eye-opening for all the things that I've even missed. I would like to think of myself as a very present father. But, I mean, things get missed. You do get lost behind the screen a lot of the time, just because—You know, Sam, my wife, she'll take a video of Ellie doing something, but it's not the same as actually being there. It's not the same as actually getting the goldfish hurled at your face. [laughs] Um, that, that is different. That is different.
Eddie: Hey, what's your favorite thing to do? Like, we play Wiffle ball nonstop in our yard. So I'm going to say Wiffle ball and our trampoline are where we hang out all the time. I mean, we just get a huge kick out of that. I've got bald spots in my yard from where my batter's box and my pitcher's mound is and we've just completely worn out the trampoline. My three-year-old calls it the “trippa train.” I mean, he just loves being on it. But what’s your favorite thing to do with them?
Justin Batt: We would share the trampoline. The trampoline has been such a blessing for us, and you know, we call it the octagon because typically it's like a mini UFC cage, right, they’re going at it in there. I love it because you zip it up and then they can't hurt themselves unless they fall out of it. So as long as it's zipped up, they're good to go. It's also funny because many times I was like, I thought that I bought you the trampoline so you guys would jump on it. But you only jump on it if I'm with you on it. So we've created more games and had more time together in the trampoline, and just laying on there, tickling them, laughing to our toes, wrestling, big piling and just having a blast. I even taught my daughter how to box and I got all of them headgear and boxing gloves one year for Christmas for the trampoline. She's a lefty and man, she was knocking all the boys out, so it was awesome. I’m like, you’ve got a mean southpaw. So the trampoline is definitely one. We've been blessed to have a pool that we were able to put in over a year ago in our backyard. So the pool is also a great central point that we spend a ton of time in, so we have that luxury. If we didn't have that, then oftentimes we would find ourselves—The boys right now are really into mountain biking. I bought them a couple of ramps. We built a couple of ramps and so we'll just go out and ramp. They're often saying, Dad, I bet you five bucks you can't ramp off this. And so then I got to go out there and prove ‘em wrong and do it as well. So we'd spend a ton of time with that. And then we have a big field that's not far from our house. So we go and—it's football—whether it's in our backyard or on that field, they are playing football like every night, every other night. So you got the batter's box, we've got the go route that's worn down in my yard from football all the time.
Eddie: Very nice.
Tyler: Just kind of a side question here. What is your biggest “dad fail” moment?
Eddie: Oh, good one.
Justin Batt: Yeah, that's a great one. I'll put it into context. So in terms of, like, Daddy Saturday, I'm not the handiest guy in the world. I'm not like you guys who have a background in construction. I grew up throwing spirals and hitting curve balls. So I'm great when it comes to sports, I'm great when it comes to those things. But building things is not my strong suit. So I can build it in my mind, but then making it happen is not the greatest. I did try to build an obstacle course one time and was, you know, nailing and screwing and drilling and trying to build this thing. And like, three of the kids were on it and the whole thing just collapsed, and it was a pile of dust and nails and they're like, dad, this is miserable. But it was a great pivot. We ended up having a fun day as a result of my failure and my inadequacies in terms of my construction skills. So that was, you know, a Daddy Saturday failure. But I think on a bigger scale, probably my biggest failure as a dad is letting my insecurities or my circumstances come out on my children. So, when I would come home from a busy day of work, and maybe had a hard day and you're just stressed out or there's a lot going on, life pressing down on you, or I was feeling unorganized as myself, I'd walk in and—My three boys share a room. I've got, you know, massive bunk beds in this room, so it can often be a disaster zone, a war zone. So I'd walk in and I'm feeling unorganized or inadequate in myself or insecure and then I would get upset and raise my voice or yell at them for the state of their room, when recognizing, I really wasn't that upset about them and their room. I was overdoing it because I was upset at myself and I was taking it out on them. So I think that's something that a lot of us dads deal with. So for me, I've had to learn to examine my circumstances, examine myself internally, do some deep self-work to make sure that I'm showing up in the right way and not taking my circumstances or my own insecurities out on my kids. The final thing I'll say is that I, for a period of time, grew up in a results-based home where I got love and affirmation, from my father in particular, around my performance on the field. So if I performed well, I got lots of love and affirmation. If I didn't perform well, then sometimes he wouldn't even be at the house or he wouldn't talk to me after the game. My dad was a great dad, but that was just one area that, you know, he didn't have any of that growing up. And now I know why, and he kinda took that out on me in that respect. So I was very rewards-based and performance-based for large part of my life. I started to recognize that I was also starting to do that to some of my kids as I was coaching their teams and watching their sports. I recognized that I needed to put relationship over results. So now, regardless of what happens after the game, we're going to go get ice cream, we're going to go spend time together. It's not based on their performance, it’s based on their character, right? If they're a good sport, if they did their best, that's what we talk about, not their actual performance. It's helped me tremendously. So that was a moment where I almost failed. But through that deep self-work, through that analysis, I recognized what in my past was impacting my present and what could potentially impact the future. So I was able to change it and not take that with me.
Eddie: Man, I'd echo just the bringing-it-home thing because, I'm going to tell you, construction is not for the faint of heart. It can be a very gruff way of making a living. And so, you know, getting balled out, having people on your case, having people tell you what you did wrong all day, being under the pressure of trying to meet schedules and deadlines and things like that, it's just constant. So you don't realize, the stress is mounting, the stress is mounting. And then you don't realize, I'm carrying that home, I'm carrying that home. And man, you get there and then all of a sudden, you know, you are—you’re after one of your kids and you realize, man that wasn't even that big a deal. You know, I went after them for something and it wasn't that big a deal. If there's anything as I've gotten a little older and you know, the kids have gotten older and thank the good Lord, they show me some grace in this thing and I try to do the same for them. I just realize it's not all as big a deal as I thought it was. So I want them to extend me grace, why am I not doing that for them? And then I don't want them to act out of their emotions. Why would I do that to them?
Justin Batt: One hundred percent. You know, even right now, the other day the kids were all in the house and the boys were kind of overexcited, and my wife and I and just had a big conversation about her business and some strategic decisions we were having to make, and just shut down the store because of the virus. And you know, it's like so much, it's a lot right now. And so we're going to have this deep, heady conversation and the boys are in the background just screaming and fighting and going at each other. I told them to quiet down like four times and finally had had enough and I was like, “Stop screaming!” And I'm screaming at them to stop screaming. I'm like, really? That makes so much sense. What a great example, Dad. You know, like, come on. It's like, yeah, far more is caught than taught. You want them to stop that behavior and yet you're doing the exact behavior that you don't want them to show. Temper’s another one, right? You have a temper with your kids or you get angry with them and you don't want them to have a temper or get angry unnecessarily. It's like you're showing them the exact behavior you’re trying to not have them do. And it's hard. I love what you said about grace. I think we all need to give ourselves some grace. We need to give our kids some grace and expect that in return. What we've done is we've tried to create the model of the D’s, right? Disrespect, disobedience, destructiveness. Those are the big things that we try to really focus on. So if I'm going to get all riled up at my kids, if one of the boys was disrespectful to my wife openly, like man, I get on him about that because that's something that is not tolerated in our household. You don't treat women that way. You don't treat your mother that way. And if you're openly disrespectful, Dad's going to come down on you. But like cleaning your room, because I had a bad day, I'm going to go off on you about that? Not acceptable, right? Not at the same level. So it should be about character, not about circumstances. If you can keep it to that, that's a great boundary or guardrail to put in place for yourself. That'll help in that process.
Tyler: Well, here's our last question that we ask everybody. So if we gave you a megaphone that the whole industry could hear, what would you say?
Justin Batt: I would say that we live in the greatest generation with the most potential ever to be in business, to own a business, to run a business, to start an idea and to put that into practice. So we are not at a shortage of opportunity in the society with which we live in. At the same time, being a father, being a dad is also the most challenging that it's ever been. Fatherhood's no longer a playground, it's a battleground. And as fathers we need to step up and recognize that although we have tremendous opportunity, we also have tremendous responsibility. We have a tremendous amount of obstacles against us. So the concept of being intentional, being engaged, and focusing on your family and your children as a priority and being aware of that is so paramount to raising good kids who become great adults, and changing the next generation. So you have great opportunity, you have great responsibility, and I would also say that this is the biggest opportunity for dads to step up, to reclaim fatherhood and to change the next generation to the way that we raise and parent our children. And, let's go! This is your chance. Let's make it happen. So be intentional, be engaged, and make those Daddy Saturdays epic.
Tyler: Well Justin, thanks for joining us, man.
Justin Batt: So awesome to be with you guys. Thank you for all you do, and appreciate the time. Make it through this crisis on the other side.
Tyler: Hey guys, Tyler here. Thanks for joining us today. I just wanted to take a second and point you at a couple of things. First things first, leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Be transparent. Tell us what you think. If you want to write a small review, that would be awesome. Go check out our new website. We're really excited about it. We've got a couple of cool lists on there for you guys to check out as well, to show you some of our favorite things. Also, take a second, go like us on social media. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can find us at Construction Brothers Podcast. You can find links to any of our guests and any other things that we discussed in the show notes. I really appreciate you listening. Thank you so much. Have a great day.