Happy Dad – By Mark Holder

Today I woke up. Good start to a great day in my book.

Granted, it was 5:00am. I don’t know about you, but If I’m not going deep sea fishing or golfing an hour or two away, 5am is not an ideal time to greet the day. Nonetheless, I got up and started my day. I have four kids (Six year old boy, four year old boy and one year old boy and girl twins) and seven dogs at the moment (four are a mother and three puppies we are fostering).

I like to start the day with a little meditation and prayer, but as you can imagine it’s hard to find quiet space. Mine? The Shower. I love the shower. Its warm, its quiet, and while I’m in there it’s my sanctuary.

Getting my mind clear of selfish thinking is my priority goal every single day. Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark.  That’s how my head likes to start the day. Here’s the deal – less Mark and more Rest of the World makes Mark a happy, joyous and free husband, father, son, employer and friend. I am a firm believer that the world is a better place when we put each other ahead of our selves. If we all did it, what an oasis we would all live in. Simple stuff.

My brain wants to tell me that I should be at the office, working and obsessing about money and power; hammering away at the wall that stands between my hostile takeover of the corporate world!!!

Hmmmmm, world dominance or a day with my dudes…….

Centered and mellow, I have decided to work from home for the day.  My oldest boy Reagan is off for Columbus Day and we have collectively decided that his brother Riley should take off as we believe he wont fail to become President of the United States of America if he misses one day of preschool.

After feeding the twins a breakfast fit for triathlon athletes (homemade oatmeal, chopped fresh bananas, apples, grapes and vegan sausage, I get them down for their morning nap. As my wife, who is also my business partner, works in the home office, I ask the boys if they want to go on a bike ride to Bunny Park (named after the abundance of bunnies at the park of course.)

From the time we left the house and returned, I felt a lifetime of happiness. Sunny, blue skies, beautiful day in Agoura Hills, me and my two little knuckleheads are off being awesome together. Up the sidewalk, down the driveway, across the grass, stop at the stop sign, watch for cars, look both ways, down the hill, around the turn – lets do it again!!

Now at the park we ride the trails, throw the frisbee and football (stashed them in the basket on the front of my wife’s bike I borrowed, which I look very butch on by the wayJ), hit the jungle gym, watch the older kids play baseball, run across some squirrels, grab some sticks, eat some rocks, stare at trees, roll in the grass, laugh til our bellies hurt then laugh some more.

As we hit the swings, Reagan asks me to push him to get him going. He has never been able to keep it going, until today. As I’m being a little kid myself, swinging higher and higher, I look next to me at my first born precious little angel of a boy and notice that he is keeping pace with me! His face lights up and he shouts “I’m doing it daddy!  I’m doing it!”

I cannot tell you the joy and peace that filled my heart at that moment. It’s heaven on Earth  – it’s Utopia. It’s right here, right now. This moment; now this one. Present. Conscious. Connected. Amazing. Perfect.

I love being a dad. I love being a spiritual dad. I love connecting with my children. It’s by far the coolest job I will ever have (and I have a pretty cool day job so that’s saying a lot.) Parenting is a big responsibility if we are doing it right. Today, I did it right. Tomorrow, I’ll show up and do it again. It’s what drives me. I want my kids to go out into the world and help others. Where else are they going to learn how to do that If I don’t show them?

Where would the world be if we all took a breath and put others first?

Less Mark, more the rest of the world. Ah. Better.