Monday, November 2, 2009

Maxim's Advice for Dads

Maxim magazine (yes, that Maxim) published a list of "10 Things Every Father Should Teach His Son." Here is their list:

1. Never Fight Over a Woman
2. Never Let Anyone See You Punch Inanimate Objects
3. Buy the Women in Your Life Flowers
4. Know How to Make Scrambled Eggs
5. Always Buy a Laid-off Friend a Beer
6. Never Get Mad ... Get Even
7. Silence Is Golden
8. Drink Liquor Straight Up
9. Own a Roll of Duct Tape
10. Never Be Afraid to Dance

Now, some of these are pretty good (2, 3, 7), some of them are not so good (6, 8), and some of them are downright silly (1, 4, 5, 9, 10). Given the questionable content on their website, I will not link over to the list, where they provide brief explanations for each item.

All in all, I would classify this list as "how to be a man in the way 21st century manhood has been defined." You can take it for what it is worth from that perspective.

But we at NFI, of course, think there are a few important things that Maxim left off the list when it comes to the real, actual things that sons need to learn from their fathers.

A few suggestions, from the mundane to the profound:

  • Work hard, even when no one is watching.
  • Know how to fix a flat tire.
  • Don't have children until you are married to their mother.
  • Honesty actually is the best policy.
  • Know how to cook.
  • Have a good strong handshake.
  • Always look people in the eye when you talk to them.
  • Serve your community.
  • Be willing and able to do house chores, like vacuuming, ironing, dusting, and washing dishes.
  • Treat all of the women in your life with respect.
  • Don't be afraid to experience and process the full range of emotions.
  • Always keep an updated resume.
Do you have any more suggestions? What lessons will you share with your sons?


  1. I've been training with the Japan Karate Association for over 10 years and after each class we recite the following "Dojo Kun":

    *Seek perfection of character
    *Be faithful
    *Respect others
    *Refrain from violent behavior

  2. I don't think there's anything wrong with 1,4,5,9, or 10. I don't think they're silly at all.

    1. You shouldn't have to fight over a woman. If a woman pulls you into that situation, she is trouble.
    4. Men should learn to cook for themselves. This isn't the 1950s, and less and less women know their way around a kitchen.
    5. It doesn't have to be beer, but you should always have empathy and sympathy and help a friend in need.
    9. Any man or woman should be equipped with and able to handle simple household tools.
    10. You should face your fears, whether they include dancing or climbing a mountain.

    You have to realize that Maxim is a comedic magazine, but there are good points in this top ten list. You have to figure out what they really mean.

  3. 1. Put God first before everything.
    2. Respect people until they don't show you respect, including women.
    3. Keep your focus on your goals in life.
    4. Don't be influenced by peer pressure.
    5. Never put your boys/girls before your mate.
    6. Don't tell your boys/girls about the intimate parts of your relationship.
    7. Don't continue to associate with those who only want from you, but can never give.
    8. Work hard for what you want in life.
    9. Be responsible for your actions good or bad.
    10. Always be truthful even if it hurts.

  4. Kevin - I agree that there is "hidden" meaning in many of the items on Maxim's list. My issue with some of them was not so much that they were "wrong," but that if I had to create a Top Ten list, I would not include many of the things they included. -- Vince

  5. Father's should also teach their children:

    1) How to sincerely pray to God on a regular basis;
    2) How to forgive others;
    3) How to protect and treat your wife with love; and
    4) That indebtedness is slavery.

  6. I wonder why neither Maxim nor has a list that includes God. Oh how tears well up in my head for this generation of fathers that won't teach their children what their own grandfathers taught their fathers...

  7. 1) Make few promises, and keep all of the ones you make.
    2) Most people are different than you, and that is a good thing.
    3) Mean words can hurt.
    4) Believe in God, read his Word, and emulate his Love.
    5) I Love you, son.
    6) Be in the World, but not of the World.
    7) Daddy makes mistakes too.
    8) No one is stupid.
    9) Some people are ignorant sometimes, but everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    10) Try your best to live the 10 commandments.

  8. Great post. We received your email and think you have some good stuff. (for sons and daughters). Also like the interpretation in the comments on some of the MAXIM ones. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Bringing "God" into the lives of your children is a personal thing and has NOTHING whatsoever to do with being a good father or raising a happy, healthy, respectful child. In fact, I could easily argue the opposite (brainwashing). So, for those of you who feel intent on pushing your religous views - save it. It's offensive.

  10. Good post, and so was Maxim's. And yes, spirituality is a MUST teach for your children, regardless of what you believe in. They will seek to fill that void later on if you don't let them know they have religious choice and freedom. Cults know this, so should parents.

  11. Thanks everyone for all of the comments so far - great to see this discussion taking place. I have had to reject a few comments though, because I felt the discussion was becoming an argument about religion. While that can certainly be a very interesting discussion, it is off the topic of "what should dads teach their sons." We look forward to the continuation of the conversation!

  12. - A person's strength is not measured by how many pounds he/she can lift.
    - Be thoughtful about the changing world, but hold onto the unchanging values you find to be true.
    - Respect others, even when they make it hard, and be compassionate to people even when you don't understand them.
    - Be open to new things, experiences, feelings and adventures, but trust your gut when deciding about right or wrong.
    - Nurture those around you. Tell them you love them and lift them up in body and spirit, and they will do the same for you.
    - Grow a little every day. If you have stopped growing you have stopped living.

  13. On being a husband...

    it is better to be aligned and together, than to be right and on your own

    if you're aligned and wrong, the lows aren't as low. We got here together and we'll get out of it together.

    if you're on your own and right, the highs aren't as high. and if you're wrong, it's guilt and I told you so.


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