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The Strong Dad Protocol: Raising Daughters with Hotep

Welcome back to another episode of Dads with Daughters! Today, we have a special guest joining us, Hotep, who will be sharing his insights on the Strong Dad Protocol. As always, we’re here to guide you on your journey of being an engaged and active father to your daughters. In this episode, Hotep opens up about his experience of finding out he was going to be a father to a daughter and the joy and excitement it brought him. We also explore the special bond between fathers and daughters and the fears that come with raising strong, independent young women. So, grab a beverage and get ready to dive into the world of fatherhood on Dads with Daughters.

Transcript

Christopher Lewis [00:00:06]:

Welcome to dads with daughters. In this show, we spotlight dads resources and more to help you be the best dad you can be.

Christopher Lewis [00:00:16]:

Welcome back to the Dads with Daughters podcast, where we bring you guests to be active participants in your daughter’s lives, raising them to be strong, independent women. Really excited to have you back again this week. And as always, I say this, but it’s true. You and I are on a journey together and every week we have an amazing opportunity to be able to learn and grow as it comes to how we can help to raise our daughters and be active participants in their lives. And we do that every week by talking to other dads because we can learn so much from the other fathers around us sometimes we’re not always the best at asking for help or not always the best at reaching out and talking to even that dad that’s next door. So this is an easy way for you to be able to learn from other dads from all across the world that are raising their daughters in different ways and giving you some tools for that toolbox that you have. To help you to be able to put some things in place that will help you to be engaged, be active, and be in your daughter’s lives throughout their entire lives. This week we got another great guest. Hotep is with us today. And if you’ve not met Hotep before, you’re going to meet him today. But Hotep has been talking about something called the Strong dad protocol. We’re going to be talking about that, but first and foremost, we always have to talk about being a dad. But first, Hotep, thanks so much for being here today.

Hotep [00:01:46]:

Thank you.

Christopher Lewis [00:01:47]:

It is a pleasure having you here today. I love being able to meet new dads, and one of the things that I love doing first and foremost is turning the clock back in time. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do that sometimes? But I would love to turn the clock back in time to that first moment, that first moment when you found out that you were going to be a father to a daughter. What was going through your head?

Hotep [00:02:08]:

Well, my wife and I were we had just finished converting a van. I worked all summer on a van, from everything mechanical up to the inside. I created an entire space inside of this minivan, built everything myself and came home one day and my wife said, I’m pregnant. And first thing, I was extremely excited. And then the second thing I thought was, all right, how do I make this van capable of holding three of us instead of two of us? Which never ended up happening. But I held on begrudgingly for about two and a half, three months before giving it up entirely and deciding to set root. So I was really thinking about how my life was about to change. And I was pretty sure, well, I knew in my heart I was going to have a daughter because I’ve always wanted a daughter. Ever since I was young, I’ve been preparing myself to have a daughter since the day that I knew I wanted to be a father. And I was just deciding at this point, I just want to manifest the best person I can be for her.

Christopher Lewis [00:03:13]:

You just said that you always knew you wanted to be a father to a daughter. What was it about being a father to a daughter that resonated with you and made you, in your mind, say, I want to be a father to a daughter?

Hotep [00:03:26]:

To be honest, I don’t know. I watched my dad with my half sister. I don’t even know if that impacted me as much. I think perhaps it was just when I was really young, I knew that I wanted to be a dad, and my thought was, well, let me pick out the names that I would name my future child. And it was always girl names. I was always thinking of having a daughter. I never really even considered having a son, to be honest. It just felt like a really natural thing. I feel like some men, their life experience requires that they have a son because there’s a lot that they need to learn in that aspect. And I think that other men don’t struggle in that way, and it’s a daughter that they need because it’s a level of nurturing or softness that they lack in their life that’s meant for them. I really feel like it’s all divine based on who you are as a person.

Christopher Lewis [00:04:15]:

Talked to a lot of dads, and many of the dads tell me that in stepping into not only being a father but a father to a daughter, there’s some fear, there’s some fear to raising daughters. What would you say has been your biggest fear in raising a daughter?

Hotep [00:04:32]:

Letting her go, knowing that one day I’ll have to send her out into the world to fly. I come from a family of very strong minded and successful and intelligent women, so I feel like the hardest part will be when she starts to assert her own will more than she can right now at this stage. I think that’s going to be that’s the part I fear. But I do realize that that is the natural progression of things. So it’ll come and I’ll accept it, but I don’t want it to come. I put in my application for her to stay the same age forever, so I’m just waiting for them to give me a call back, let me know if I was approved.

Christopher Lewis [00:05:11]:

I think you’re going to be waiting for a while. Yeah, I completely hear you there. I just dropped my own daughter off at college, and this is my oldest and talk about having to let her fly. It is definitely a challenge it’s definitely hard for us drive away and drive away about 12 hours away to leave her and to let her fly. And you do whatever you can to prepare your daughters to be ready for that point. And I think we have prepared her well, but it’s still not easy. And I think any parent would say that no matter if you’re a father to a son or a daughter, leaving them when they go off, whether it’s to college, whether it’s into the military, whether it’s whatever post high school, that’s the first step and the first kind of the wings. You give them to fly, and you let them fly. But it’s not easy. It’s definitely not easy.

Hotep [00:06:08]:

It’s not. And now that I actually think about it, I think that the term mama’s boy and daddy’s girl. I always wanted a child that I love my mom, and I always noticed that boys really are attached to their moms, and daughters are attached to their dads. And so I think maybe that’s why I wanted a daughter, because I wanted to be integral in a completely different way. That relationship I idolized my mother and my mother and my grandfather who passed. Their relationship was very special, and I.

Christopher Lewis [00:06:35]:

Think maybe that’s why now, your daughter is still young, but you’ve had some definite experiences with her, and you’ll have many experiences as she grows. What’s been your most memorable experience that you’ve had thus far as a father but also as a father to your daughter?

Hotep [00:06:49]:

I mean, right now, seeing her for the first time is the most memorable experience that I can really because every other experience is just trumped by the next day. Every time she learns something new, it’s like a step up. Every day, I’m like, It can’t get better than this. It can’t get better than this. And in a little way, it does. But when I think about walking down the hallway with her into the next room and just looking at her little eyes as she was staring at everything, I think that was an amazing moment because it was like, it’s here my life completely. It’s not the same life anymore after that, and it’s not your life in the way that it was before either. It’s our life. So I feel like that moment will probably stick out for a long time until she does something crazy.

Christopher Lewis [00:07:38]:

Inevitably, there will be those times where you’ll have something crazy happen, and you’ll be like, what the heck? How do I respond to this? And you’d have to just let it roll off your back and just keep moving forward, and it’s just another phase and another day of parenting, and you have to learn from it as well. Now, I first learned about you through a tweet that you put out there. You were talking about being a girl dad, and I love that. What does being a girl dad mean to you?

Hotep [00:08:06]:

Being a girl dad to me is what it truly means to set an example for how a woman should be treated. I feel like because I am the father to a girl, it propels me to be a better husband to my wife and just a better example of a man in general. And I look at the philosophies of my mother, my grandmother, the women in my family, and they were very much formed around the type of men in our family. And they always had a saying for the type of men in our family, for their work ethic and such. And so I feel like I always want to be a better man than I am. I always want to progress as much as I can. And I feel like being a girl dad is the best opportunity to because it’s not just about you being the best example of a man. It’s about setting a standard that she will have for the rest of her life. She’s going to match every man up to you. If you did your job right, if you did your job to the best of your ability, she’s going to compare them all to you. And I really feel like that just makes me want to be better every day. So that’s definitely what being a girl dad is about. It’s about self improvement.

Christopher Lewis [00:09:17]:

Talking about self improvement over the last few months, you’ve been really jumping into putting out a lot of different videos on YouTube. And it’s about what you call the strong dad protocol. And I love what you say here. You say that what’s this about? It’s about promoting the wellness on men from the perspective of husbands and fathers. Being a strong dad is a mindset that reaches beyond the body. We seek to influence other men to seek the path of purpose as husbands, fathers, teachers, or living examples of stoic and strong men. This is not manospheric content. This is the strong dad protocol. Talk to me more about this. What made you create this? What is it about? And what pushes you forward to really want to create more, to help more fathers?

Hotep [00:10:14]:

I decided to create the strong dad protocol a few months before Father’s Day. And it was mainly because I saw that it became a popular thing to teach men, to teach young boys how to be men. And what I was noticing is that it was coming from a lot of men who were single, childless, not married, had a lot of bad relationships. And to me, it was deafening. Trying to speak against them, trying to say, no, this is not how men are, this is how they are. And so I decided that the best way to combat the rise in popularity of that form of male based content was to just speak from the perspective of being a father and being a husband and providing an alternate space where men can understand. It’s one thing to hear like this is how you should act when you approach women, and this is how you want to raise your children from someone who doesn’t have any of those. But when you hear advice from fathers, there’s a lot more wisdom attached to it. And there’s like a growing wisdom too. It’s not like I know everything. This is how it is. It really is more of a humble way of progressing. And that to me, is that was the driving purpose. I decided I would do the Strong dad protocol and I would bring people along as I grew and as I learned lessons as a man myself. And that’s kind of the answer to both of those. And I mean, what propels me is being a father, being a husband. Every time I learn something new, I realize that the template is never solidified for men and that it always is evolving and advancing. And so it keeps me wanting to stay on top of this so that people can see. There’s a saying by Amenhotep Akhenaten that essentially what it means is that a wise man, he doubts himself more than he is sure of himself. And that is where his progression is. And so when you see fools, they know everything. They’re obstinate. You can’t change their mind. And I felt like this manosphere thing was run by a bunch of fools. And I wanted to show that there are better men out there, that there are better examples of men out there, that you can be masculine and not be offensive or not be a host of the other things that they tie masculinity itself to. Because becoming more masculine saved my life. But when you say that, it’s so unpopular to say that because people view it through the quote unquote toxic lens. And I wanted to say, well, no, masculinity is healthy for men, and it’s because you’re hearing it from these people that you don’t understand it. So I decided to just do my own thing instead of reacting to them and trying to fight against their tide. I just created my own wave. And then, of course, Father’s Day came around and the Hotep community that we’re part of decided we would do Strong Dad June. And so I said, well, every day of the month of June, I will speak on an aspect of fatherhood and of being a man that should be learned, that should be taught. And it took life from there.

Christopher Lewis [00:13:49]:

When you talk about the Hotep community, talk to me about what that means to you, because I do know that hotep is a word that comes it’s an Egyptian word, and I know that. But how do you define it for yourself and how do you embody that within yourself?

Hotep [00:14:07]:

I define it as it was delivered. I think that over the years, they’ve turned hotep into a derogatory thing. And a lot of people who are violent in thought and the way that they treat others, especially women, took that word and it became their moniker. But it’s not their moniker. It’s just they lack understanding. And so for me, finding Hotep was really about finding know. I derived my understanding of Hotep from Patahotep Akhenaten, Marcus Aurelius, all of these people, these are Hotep men. When you listen to Marcus Aurelius or you read his work, he talks about being a man in an upright manner, an upstanding manner. You don’t go out of your way to bring others down. You’re there to bring others up around you. And so all of those aspects are Hotep. And so I derived it from that. I said, well, this is how I view Hotep as it was delivered to us, and I try to embody it in that sense. The community that I’m a part of, the Hotep Nation community really has expanded. There’s hotels of many different colors. And really it’s about teaching how to be good in a society where being the opposite is promoted more, where being negative is promoted more. You’re taught to raise a family. You’re taught to educate yourself continuously, to be the best teacher by being the best student. You’re taught to put your health before many other things and try to bring others up in that way, trying to lead your community. When you are embracing Hotep, you are embracing the best aspects of leadership that you possibly can. And in order to embrace that, you have to learn to live up to it. And so being Hotep is a constant. You wake up and it’s a new day to be better than you were. It’s a new day to employ a new understanding. And every time you fall, the community itself is there to uplift you, bring you back up and put you back on the right path. So that’s what Hotep is to me. Whereas to others, it can be perceived as a male centered thing, but it really isn’t. I mean, if you understand where Hotep comes from, then you recognize very much that the woman is the most sacred individual within the space of Hotep. And so it’s really about men being better for this sacred woman in many aspects that’s at least how know not interpreted it. Like I said, how it’s delivered is how I interpret it, whereas others, they interpret it and put their own template on it. To each his own. But this is the pathway that I’ve chosen.

Christopher Lewis [00:16:57]:

I appreciate you sharing that. Now, I know in a number of the videos that you’ve created, you focus on a lot of things in regards to not only being a man, but you also talk about fitness and nutrition and taking care of yourself so you can then take care of your family as well. And especially as we get older, sometimes we fall off I’m going to say we fall off the wagon of the fitness wagon, per se, and we lose that routine, especially if we have had a routine. Sometimes we don’t even have a routine. If someone has been off that fitness wagon for a bit and definitely wants to get back on it and find ways to be able to incorporate that back into their daily life, are there things that you would encourage them to do to at least move in the right direction?

Hotep [00:17:44]:

Yes. Temporary motivation to do something, it never is enough. So really it’s about when people get motivated, they start and they go all in to it and that’s where you end up falling off, because motivation disappears after the first day or two. After that, it’s gone. So my suggestion is always pick little things that you can be disciplined in and start off small. So if you’re someone who struggles more with the diet than actually exercising, pick two or three practices in your diet that you can change and become disciplined in doing just those two or three things. And then it’ll kind of start rolling forward. You’ll pick up some momentum from there and then being motivated from your own discipline is kind of different because it pushes you towards finding more areas where you can achieve that discipline. So if you’re someone who struggles getting started in the gym, I always say just start by waking up and doing some sort of exercise. If you can wake up and do 20 push ups a day, ten squats a day, something really small and over time you will recognize the benefit and the need to do more. Even like, let’s say some people, they have their free time, they sit at home, they relax and they watch TV. Do something during the commercials or while you’re sitting there watching TV, get down on the floor and just watch your favorite show while you do some squats. And something that you can employ easily first is usually the best way because not everybody has the ability to just jump head in and do it. It sounds easier than it is. And I recognize that for myself, I was incarcerated and I was pretty active before and I was going to the gym before, but just enough. And so you get in there and you’re kind of just pushed right into exercising a lot by the older guys there. So for me, it’s easy to just jump headlong into something to eat the same thing for months on end. But for others it’s not that easy because there’s so much variety in life and things drawing away your attention. So that’s why I say doing something small and working your way up from there. If you get a gym membership, go for just one day a week and that one day should eventually push you towards wanting more, you’re going to recognize it and just being honest with yourself as well. If you cannot love the vessel that you’re in, then improving it will never be your imperative. You’ll always be trying to just satisfy the negative feelings you have, but you’re never actually there to embrace yourself. So you got to love yourself. You got to accept what you are, what you look like, and realize that you have more control over this space than not. The lack of control, it comes from a lack of discipline. So doing small things shows you how much control you actually have. In this aspect. We can’t control our outside world, but we can control what goes in our bodies. We can control how we choose to meet the day. So it starts with the mind. It starts with making positive steps in the mind. It’s not enough to see something. You see something online and you’re like, man, I got to get out there and work out, right? And then what happens? An hour or two later, you’ve forgotten about that and it’s no longer in your lexicon. It’s no longer there anymore. So even at that point for me, when it comes to writing, sometimes I’ll have an idea and it’ll go away because I don’t act on the idea. So whenever it comes to my mind, I act on it as soon as possible. So if you’re looking at a video and you’re sitting at home on your couch and you’re like, man, I really got to get into it. Stand up and do some stand up and do 20 squats or something like that. Something that’s going to linger, the feeling right? Your legs will be a little sore if you’ve not really done it before, so that soreness is going to linger. It’ll show up the next day and you’re going to realize, oh yeah, I started exercising. Let me do something else. Things like that and an education change what you consume, and eventually you’ll become that. If you consume crap content for a long time, then you don’t really do much, but kind of just sit around in a crappy state. But if you start changing what you take in like when I was trying to compete for Bodybuilding, my entire algorithm for my YouTube had changed. All I saw was things about Bodybuilding and that kept me fresh and focused and wanting more out of it. So that’s another thing, is it starts with what you consume and then your mind, and then those small steps. And then eventually if you have discipline in another area, then it’s not hard to have it here. It’s just a different space. But discipline is the same all around. It’s the same action no matter what you’re doing. It’s just can you apply it to a different action?

Christopher Lewis [00:23:00]:

Now, we always finish our interviews with what I like to call our Fatherhood Five, where I ask you five more questions to delve deeper into you as a dad. Are you ready?

Hotep [00:23:06]:

I’m ready.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:07]:

In one word, what is fatherhood humility? When was the time that you finally felt like you succeeded at being a.

Hotep [00:23:13]:

Father to a daughter, finally letting her transition to her big girl bed now.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:18]:

Who inspires you to be a better dad?

Hotep [00:23:20]:

My wife.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:20]:

If I was to forward this conversation five years, ten years, how would you want your daughter to describe you?

Hotep [00:23:26]:

I would want her to describe me as a man of constant evaluation, of improvement. Someone who is never satisfied with just being good at not at life necessarily, but good at being her father. Someone who’s always trying to be better for her.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:44]:

Been some different pieces of advice today. You’ve shared your own experiences and some of the things that are most meaningful to you as we finish up today. What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to every dad?

Hotep [00:23:55]:

Every day is a new time. It’s a new moment to become better. But that does not mean that you will become better every day. Some days you will backslide, some days you’ll be forgetful. Some days you’ll be hard on yourself. And I think that the most important thing through all of those days, every one of those days, is that recognizing that you are human, you are learning just as much as she is learning. And you’re never going to get it 100% correct. She’s going to grow up and she’s going to have her one criticism, if not more. There’s no such thing as the perfect parent. And so you can’t live every moment trying to be the perfect parent. My mom, she says we work with the tools we’re given. Whenever we talk about my dad or we talk about our relationship, she says you work with the tools you’re given. So if that’s the case, take the tools you have and just constantly refine them and get better at them, and you will fulfill as much of your destiny as a father as you can. And the whole goal is to pass away on a forward momentum. And really, that’s it. What do you want to leave behind? Think about what you want to leave behind, because it’s not just about your family. It’s about that your imprint on the world. What will people say about you? How will people feel about your existence on this world? And if you spend your life trying to be perfect, then they’re never going to be able to absorb who you are. And that would be my piece of advice.

Christopher Lewis [00:25:37]:

Well, ho, Chad, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your own experiences today, for being here and for sharing this journey that you’re on. And I wish you all the best.

Hotep [00:25:47]:

Thank you. I appreciate you.

Christopher Lewis [00:25:48]:

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@fatheringtogether.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. Find out more@fatheringtogether.org. We look forward to having you back for another great guest next week. All geared to helping you raise strong, empowered daughters and be the best dad that you can be. 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 present. Bring your A game because those kids are growing fast. The time goes by just like a dynamite glass calling astronauts and firemen carpenters and muscle men get out and be the one to now be the best dad you can be you be the best that you can be close.

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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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