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Effective Fatherhood: 5 Stones to Guide Your Journey with Nick Adams


In today’s fast-paced world, the role of a father is evolving, and the importance of actively participating in one’s daughter’s life cannot be overstated. In this podcast episode, we have an insightful conversation with Nick Adams, a dedicated father of four and author of “Being the Dad You Wish You Had: 5 Big Stones for Effective Fatherhood.” Through this discussion, Nick shares invaluable wisdom and experiences that shed light on the journey of fatherhood. His insights offer guidance on nurturing strong, independent daughters while navigating the complexities of being a father. Let’s delve into the key takeaways from this engaging conversation.

Fatherhood Defined: Relationship Building

As the conversation unfolds, Nick truly encapsulates fatherhood in one word: relationship. This fundamental aspect is at the core of his approach to being a father to his daughters. Recognizing the influential power that fathers possess, Nick emphasizes the significance of focusing on building and nurturing a strong relationship with his children. This insight serves as a cornerstone for fathers looking to make a meaningful impact on their daughters’ lives.

Navigating Fear and Parental Insecurities

Nick’s candid reflections on the fears and insecurities he grappled with as he anticipated becoming a father to daughters resonate with many. His honest admission of feeling unprepared and inadequate highlights a common sentiment experienced by numerous fathers. By addressing these fears, Nick offers a relatable perspective that encourages fathers to acknowledge their vulnerabilities while embarking on the journey of fatherhood.

Redefining Success as a Father

A pivotal moment in the conversation arises when Nick reflects on the indicators of success as a father. His daughters’ choices to actively engage in his work and to consider him not just as a father, but as one of their best friends, signify a profound sense of accomplishment for Nick. This reframing of success steers fathers away from external benchmarks and towards fostering relationships and open communication with their children.

Individuality and Connection with Each Child

Nick eloquently underscores the importance of recognizing and embracing the individuality of each child. Highlighting that what works for one child may not necessarily work for another, he imparts the wisdom of fostering unique relationships with each of his daughters. By valuing and understanding their distinct personalities, fathers are encouraged to tailor their approach to parenting, creating meaningful connections with their children.

Balancing Career and Fatherhood

With a busy schedule and a career that demands significant attention, Nick reflects on the necessity of finding balance between professional commitments and being an engaged father. His commitment to prioritizing his daughters’ key events and establishing a consistent family dinner ritual underscores the significance of being present in their lives. Nick’s experiences serve as a reminder for fathers to strive for balance in juggling their various responsibilities.

Embracing Imperfection and Making Progress

A striking aspect of Nick’s insights is his emphasis on embracing imperfections while continuously striving for progress. By navigating the challenges of fatherhood with the mindset of making incremental strides, fathers are encouraged to alleviate the pressure of perfectionism. Nick’s wisdom resonates as a reminder that the journey of fatherhood is about growth and connection, rather than achieving flawlessness.

Advice for Every Father

In a parting piece of advice, Nick extends a guiding principle to all fathers. He underscores the importance of understanding and supporting his children in becoming their authentic selves, rather than shaping them into a predetermined image. This profound insight emphasizes the transformative power of valuing individuality and empowering daughters to embrace their unique talents and aspirations.

Nick Adams’ profound insights and candid reflections offer a wealth of wisdom for fathers navigating the intricate path of raising strong, independent daughters. His invaluable experiences underscore the significance of relationship-building, the embrace of imperfection, and the quest for progress as fundamental principles in effective fatherhood. By leveraging Nick’s insights, fathers can embark on their journey with renewed inspiration, equipped to nurture vibrant relationships with their daughters while striving to be the best dads they can be.

Nick Adams’ reflections highlight the transformative power of an engaged and empathetic father-daughter relationship, serving as a beacon of wisdom for fathers seeking to nurture meaningful connections with their children while navigating the rich tapestry of fatherhood.


Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:05]:
Welcome to dads with daughters. In this show, we spotlight dads, resources, and more to help you be the best dad you can be.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:15]:
Welcome back to Dads with Daughters where we bring you guests to be active participants in your daughters’ lives, raising them to be strong independent women. Really excited to have you back again this week. As always, every week, I love being able to sit down with you, to work with you, to talk with you, to be able to be on this journey side by side with you, because it is a journey. Every day is a journey with our daughters. And no matter what age they’re at, things are going to change and to be able to walk hand in hand side by side with other dads, learning from them is so important. And that’s why I love being able to have this opportunity to talk to you every week because none of us have to do this alone. So often society makes it seem like we do have to, but that is not the case. There are so many fathers that have gone before us that have kids that have grown and flown, that have learned things and can share that learning with you, maybe your neighbor, but it could also be someone on the other end of your earphones.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:01:19]:
And that’s why every week I love being able to bring you different guests, different people with different experiences that can share those experiences with you and help you along the journey that you’re on. This week, we’ve got another great guest with us today. Nick Adams is with us. And Nick is dedicated to helping men understand the power of living into their strengths and dreams and provides actionable tools for the journey to authentic manhood. He is an author. He’s a father of 4. So we’re gonna be learning more about him and his journey as a father, and I’m really excited to have him here. Nick, thanks so much for being here today.

Nick Adams [00:01:55]:
Christopher, it’s my pleasure. I’m looking forward. Even as you were introducing the show, I I just feel excited to see some of the phrases you use about connecting, not just when kids are young, but ongoing and having relationship that that’s great. I’m excited about the show.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:02:09]:
Well, I’m excited to have you on. And as I said, you’re a father of 4. So first and foremost, what I love doing is turning the clock back in time. I know you have 2 daughters. So I’m gonna go all the way back to that first moment that you found out that you were going to be a dad to a daughter. What was going through your head?

Nick Adams [00:02:23]:
Oh, I mean, honestly, I was terrified because, like, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t really have a great role model as a father. And so I found myself expecting and not just expecting a child, but expecting a girl, which that’s like, okay. I mean, at least I sort of understand guys. You know, I’ve I’ve never pretended to understand girls. And so, like, wow. It just really was pretty traumatizing. If not traumatized is wrong, it was scary and exciting.

Nick Adams [00:02:53]:
Oh my goodness. So exciting.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:02:54]:
You definitely don’t wanna forget that because your daughters won’t let you live that down if that was the case. If you just say it was terrifying. So

Nick Adams [00:03:00]:
Yeah. It was both. Still is.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:03:02]:
So I wanna hear about the terrifying piece because I hear from a lot of dads that raising daughters, that you definitely run into that there’s fear that there’s fear that comes with that. What was your biggest fear in raising daughters?

Nick Adams [00:03:17]:
Well, I mean, really my biggest fear wasn’t centered specifically around daughters. It was centered around being a father. And and a lot of it just came from the fact that I didn’t feel like I had a very good role model. And, you know, you hear people talking about, oh, you know, my dad told me every day or I heard over and over. This is, you know, a a life lesson I learned from my dad. And I was just like, I really don’t have any of those, you know. And so I felt very inadequate and unprepared. And so I think that was my biggest fear because like probably most parents, after you realize you’re having a daughter or a son or whatever it is you’re having, you’re just excited.

Nick Adams [00:03:55]:
It doesn’t matter about the gender as long as I mean, my big thing was as long as they’re healthy and we can have a a going forward and things to work out, I’m good. So my biggest fears were really surrounding being a dad.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:04:06]:
So coming into fatherhood without that mentor, without that person that you could look to to say they did it right, and I wanna follow that example. How did you surround yourself or find other people as substitutes to be able to guide you in that journey that you were on?

Nick Adams [00:04:24]:
Yeah. Unfortunately, when I started down the journey of fatherhood, you weren’t doing podcast. And so I couldn’t find you. That would have been a great find. But I did just try to find other men who were further along in the journey and watch what they were doing. I was a youth pastor at the time that that I was starting my family and having children. And so I was watching other people raise their kids and I was trying to help them disciple their kids and and just help their kids grow up into healthy people. And so I had the opportunity to watch both what worked and what didn’t work and to glean information there.

Nick Adams [00:05:05]:
I did a whole lot of reading, took classes. And then really, I think observation, that was probably one of the strongest things I had going for me because I was in so many families’ lives dealing with their children and getting to to watch them. So I think that was probably one of the best things for me.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:05:21]:
Now you have 2 daughters. Every child is completely unique, and they have different personalities. They have different wants. They have different needs. And as you are building those relationships with your kids, you have to keep that in mind. So talk to me about how you had to what you had to do to be able to build those unique relationships with each of your daughters individually?

Nick Adams [00:05:46]:
Well, I think you just pointed out what I think is one of the most important pieces, and that is acknowledging it. If you can keep in mind that these are not the same people and what works with 1 will not work with the other, then I think that’s a big step forward. And then and and of course, they’re not only are they different people, they’re at different ages, they’re at different stages, they’re experiencing life in a different capacity. I mean, my girls are 2 years apart, which is pretty close, but still there’s a pretty good difference between being a 4 year old and being a 6 year old, you know. I mean, you’ve you’ve not done any kind of school and you are now functioning as a 1st grader and being in the school all day long. And there’s just a there’s a lot of differences even in a 2 year gap. And if you have a larger gap, it’s even more than that. And so I think just acknowledging that and trying to be aware of where your kids are in the process.

Nick Adams [00:06:38]:
And as as they step over those various hurdles of again, there’s a pretty big difference between a 9 year old and an 11 year old or especially when they move on over to 12. You know, you start to have some pretty distinct differences there. So I think being aware of that and consciously focusing on what’s their temperament. I don’t I don’t know if you’re familiar with, the book, the 5 love languages. But, you know, I I read that and tried to not just apply it to my relationship with my wife, but also to think about my kids and say, you know, what is their love language? Because that was one of the things I watched as I was watching families and and being a youth pastor was you’d have 2 kids or 3 kids in the same family. And one of them would tell you my parents hate me and they’re terrible and this is an awful family. And and you’d have another one and be like, oh my gosh, my parents are so great and and I feel so loved. And you’re just like, what is going on? But I think a part of it is that we all experience love differently.

Nick Adams [00:07:38]:
And so just to your point, if you don’t acknowledge that your kids are different and how you interact with them has to be different for them to feel that same level of nurture and love, then you end up with that kind of dynamic where you’ve got really different experiences coming out of the same home.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:07:55]:
Now as you look at I mean, you’re a busy guy. There’s You’ve had a lot of things happen in your life. You run a camp for kids. And being as busy as you are, there’s definitely this balance. There’s balance that you have to find in your life to be able to do the things that are important to you professionally, but also being that engaged father, especially with 4 kids and having to raise 4 kids that are probably all going in different directions as they’re getting older and getting involved in things. So talk to me about balance and how you were able to balance all of that and still be that dad you wanted to be.

Nick Adams [00:08:30]:
Well, you know, Christopher, I’d love to tell you I did a great job at that. I’m not sure that I did, but I did try. And you know, one of the things that I I talked about in the book is really the goal I don’t think is to be perfect. It’s to make progress and none of us are gonna do it perfectly. And, and I just, I acknowledge that through the years, I really probably didn’t do that balance perfectly. But one of some of the things I really tried to focus on was being at all of my kids’ events. I mean, my youngest daughter, I was actually doing a international trip and I missed her birthday. Now, never mind that I sent her to do one of her favorite things and, you know, paid for that to happen.

Nick Adams [00:09:13]:
And, but I wasn’t there. And then when I got back home, I missed it by like 2 days. And when I got back home, we celebrate it. But probably for the next decade, just periodically, she’ll remind me that I missed her birthday. You know? And and I just, I just laughed. I’m like, you know, honey, I missed one event out of your whole lifetime. The and that’s why that stands out to you. It’s because I was at all the other things.

Nick Adams [00:09:37]:
So but I think that’s just super important. You know, my daughters were in gymnastics and they were in dance and there was competitions and there were shows and I just didn’t miss any of those. And I really, I think I can say that honestly, I didn’t miss any of those because those are just big events for them. And and so to be supportive, nothing was more important than that. And I think what is genuinely true for me is that my favorite thing in life is being bad. Like, there’s not anything I do that I get more pleasure out of than being bad. And so that I think communicates to the kids that, you know, I’m not at their ballgame because I have to be there. You know, I’m I’m there because man, I wanna see what happens.

Nick Adams [00:10:26]:
I wanna watch you play. I wanna support you. I wanna be a part of your life. And so I think there are times yeah. I had to leave for work or I wasn’t there every moment of their waking hours, but I did a lot of work to make sure that they were always supported in their events. And the other thing that we did as a family, my girls and my boys are kind of different ages. I got about 10 year age span between them. So I’ve got 2 sets of children almost.

Nick Adams [00:10:54]:
But my with the older kids, especially, we had dinner every night as a family. And that just, there wasn’t a time that didn’t happen when one of my girls was doing gymnastics and she didn’t get out of gym until 8:30. None of us ate until she got home 15 to 9. And that’s when dinner was because that was important for us to build that kind of connection and relationship. So those are some of the ways that I think I’ve tried to really balance career and busy and then family.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:11:26]:
Now you mentioned the fact that you had you have a book that’s called Being the Dad You Wish You Had, 5 Big Stones for Effective Fatherhood. And I guess, 1st and foremost, as a as someone that has written books in the past myself, I know how much time, effort, patience, and more go into the labor of love that becomes the One of the things that I’ve done is run some some businesses. I’ve run

Nick Adams [00:11:57]:
One of the things that I’ve done is run some some businesses. I’ve run businesses and nonprofits. And especially in the business community, I’ve got 2 construction oriented companies. And I found myself so I work predominantly with men. So I found myself pretty frequently saying to somebody, you know, they’re they’re a good worker. They’ve got pretty good skills. They just were raised by wolves. They have and what I always meant by that is they they just have no idea of how to engage with life.

Nick Adams [00:12:28]:
And although they’re not really a terrible person that creates a lot of dysfunction around them because they just don’t know how to live life and they didn’t get what they needed as children. And I’ve said that through the years and I’ve tried to help my my employees and do different kinds of classes and just anything I can do to help kind of mentor and develop them. And so, and I don’t think I’ve been particularly effective with any of that, but I’ve tried hard. And then one night we were sitting around the dining room table and we were answering conversation starters. And the conversation starter this particular night was if you could change anything in the world, what would it be? And like a bolt of lightning, I knew if I could change anything in the world, I would create effective fathers. Because if I could create effective fathers, I could change the world. And that became kind of the genesis of the book for me, is realizing that really what I wanted to do and what I believe would have the most impact of anything I could do would be to help create a situation where fathers could be more effective.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:13:33]:
In sharing this out into the world, I know that you drew from your own experiences, and you put those experiences into the book. What were some of the biggest takeaways that you really wanted someone to take out of reading this as you walked in? And what are you finding now that it is out in the world and people are are reading it that they are pulling out of it?

Nick Adams [00:13:56]:
Yeah. I think really one of the biggest things kind of the 2 big things that I would want people to get out of the book and they’re not like written as a part of a chapter, they’re kinda just, I hope it’s there, is that dads are really influential. They’re very powerful. Now actually that is one of the chapters, but you know, that they just have a lot of influence. And if you as a father, just focus a little, you’re going to make a difference in your kid’s life because you have so much ability and so much influence to bring to their lives. So that’s one thing. And then the other thing that I always want dads to realize, and I’ve said it already today is it’s not about being perfect. It’s about making progress.

Nick Adams [00:14:39]:
And I think because as fathers, I think we can just get so overwhelmed and feel like I don’t know what to do next. I can’t tell you how many times, you know, especially when the kids were in the 11 to 15 range. I just think, I just don’t know what to do next. I’ve tried everything I know and man, it doesn’t seem to be coming out the way I’d like to see it come out. And, and some days you just think, oh, this is way harder than anybody told me it was going to be. I had no idea this is gonna be so tough. And so I think the big part of the message is just to say, it’s okay. You don’t have to do everything perfect.

Nick Adams [00:15:12]:
You’ve gotta just keep making progress in the journey, and keep making those connection points with your kids, building relationship. And you can make some pretty good size mistakes as long as you’ll own your mistakes and keep connected relationally, and you’re gonna keep moving forward. And so that’s really why the focus on the 5 big stones because I think there’s some things if you get them right, then other things will fall into place. And it’s not 20 things to do to be a great dad because that’s overwhelming. You know, it’s kind of, here’s 5 ideas, 5 mentalities, 5 things to understand that then you can incorporate into your own life to become the person you wanna be.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:15:51]:
Now I know that you’ve incorporated these 5 stones into the what you’ve done with your own kids, your kids. And, yeah, I know your daughters have grown. They’ve flown. They’ve gone out of the nest and are out in the world doing different things at this point. Now that you’re at a different phase in your fatherhood and you look back, what could you what could you have done different? Or what would you have done different now looking back? Or even looking at what you’ve written and what you’ve learned, what would you have changed?

Nick Adams [00:16:17]:
Wow. That is a great question. Looking back, I mean, I really do think what I just said is probably a big part of it. I think I would sweat less. I would worry just a little bit less and acknowledge that I’m making progress because I just feel like there’s so much value in that. It it takes so much pressure off, which makes you probably more relational and and be more able to actually connect with your kids instead of being all about, you know, I gotta do this just perfect. So I think, really that’s probably one of the big things I would change. Not just about painting, I’d change that about most of my life.

Nick Adams [00:16:51]:
I would go back and and just kind of relax a little bit and know that it’s okay. I’m going to make mistakes and it’s probably not going to be the end of the world. And then when it really is pretty seriously bad, you just own your stuff and go on.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:17:05]:
Now we always finish our interviews with what I like to call our fatherhood 5, where I ask you 5 more questions to delve deeper into you as a dad. Are you ready?

Nick Adams [00:17:13]:
I hope so. Sounds a little scary.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:17:15]:
In one word, what is fatherhood?

Nick Adams [00:17:16]:
The first thing that comes to mind is relationship.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:17:18]:
When was the time that you finally felt like you succeeded at being a father to a daughter?

Nick Adams [00:17:23]:
I have felt that with both of my daughters, one who chose to get out of college and come and work with me on a personal you know just daily level working in the camp and working with my speaking and writing and those kinds of things. Cause to me, a big part of success is having a relationship. And so the fact that she wants to be a part of what I’m doing was very much an, there was some success here. And then my older daughter has told me that I’m one of her best friends. And that to me is success.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:17:56]:
It definitely is. Now, if I was to talk to your daughters, how would they describe you as a dad?

Nick Adams [00:18:03]:
That would be hilarious. I’d love to let you talk to them, and then I’d like to listen. But I think one of the things I did was ask them, because I knew I was doing this podcast with you and it was about, you know, fathers and daughters. And so I asked them, what are some things that were important to you? What were things that made a difference for you? And one of the things that both of them mentioned was something I shared earlier, just that you were always at our stuff. You made being there a priority. And then one of them said, you know, you made it easy to talk to you. I always knew I could come to you and tell you things and you weren’t going to go crazy and overreact and that you would be able to listen to what’s happening in my life and and support me emotionally. So they told me that I don’t know what they would tell you.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:18:50]:
Now who inspires you to be a better dad?

Nick Adams [00:18:52]:
One of the people who has inspired me to be a better father. I just had the privilege of doing this funeral 3 weeks ago, but he had raised 2 of the kids that were in my youth group when I was a youth pastor long years ago. And they are now, you know, in their forties or whatever. But I just watched how effective he was with his kids. And at one point did a series of, of like small group classes on parenting. And I brought him in as the speaker and I watched his life. And so he was truly probably one of the people who I’ve learned the most from. His name is Paul Hively.

Nick Adams [00:19:29]:
Just you ask a name, there’s your name.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:19:31]:
Now you’ve given a lot of pieces of wisdom. Some things that you’ve learned along the way, some things that have worked, maybe some things that didn’t work. And as you think about all dads that are out there and as we finish up today, what’s one piece of advice you’d wanna give to every father?

Nick Adams [00:19:45]:
I think one of the things that comes to mind today is just to acknowledge that your goal is to help parent your kids to be who they’re supposed to be, Not to be who you want them to be or who you wish they would but to try to understand who they are and what their gifts are and their desires are, and then give them tools to become who they want to be instead of trying to create them and kind of the image you want them to end up as. Because really, we’re not usually very effective if we’re trying to create them in some image we have in our own mind as opposed to looking and seeing who they really are and then developing those gifts and talents that they have so that they can become the best version of themselves.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:20:31]:
I really appreciate you sharing that, sharing your wisdom today with us. Now, if people wanna find out more about you and your book, where should they go?

Nick Adams [00:20:38]:
Well, they can get the book on Amazon. Just go to Amazon and search Being the Dad You Wish You Had. It’s available as a digital book and as a paperback. It’ll be coming out soon as a hardback and we’re gonna do audio hopefully launching next month. So those are coming as well. And then you can reach me at info at being dash dad dot com. And that’s also the website being dash dad dot com.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:21:04]:
Well, Nick, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your own story with your daughters, and I wish you all the best.

Nick Adams [00:21:11]:
Perfect. Thank you, Christopher. It’s great to be with you.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:21:13]:
The fatherhood insider is the essential resource for any dad that wants to be the best dad that he can be. We know that no child comes with an instruction manual, and most dads are figuring it out as they go along. And the fatherhood insider is full of resources and information that will up your game on fatherhood. Through our extensive course library, interactive forum, step by step roadmaps and more, you will engage and learn with experts, but more importantly, dads like you. So check it out at fathering together dot org. If you are a father of a daughter and have not yet joined the dads with daughters Facebook community, there’s a link in the notes today. Dads with daughters is a program of fathering together. We look forward to having you back for another great guest next week all geared to helping you raise strong and powered daughters and be the best dad that you can be.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:22:04]:
We’re all in the same boat, and it’s full of tiny screaming passengers. We spend the time, We give the lessons. We make the meals. We buy them presents and bring your a game. Because those kids are growing fast, the time goes by just like a dynamite blast, calling astronauts and firemen, carpenters, and musclemen. Get out and be the world to them. Be the best that you can be.

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Christopher Lewis

Christopher is the co-founder of Fathering Together and the Chief Information Officer. He is the father of 2 daughters that are now in their tweens and teens. He started Dad of Divas, a blog to share his own personal experiences in being a father in 2007 and in 2018 started the Dads With Daughters Facebook Group to allow dads to connect, learn and grow together. He works in Digital Media on a daily basis, but also has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration.

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