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Be your kids HERO, one memory at at time!

The other day, my son Caleb expressed to my wife his frustration with the kids at his school. When she asked what the issue was, he said, “No one at school likes the sports that I do!”

My wife then asked what those sports were, he responded “Soccer, and Crossfit”. Amused by this, my wife took the opportunity to ask Caleb to name his favorite athletes…this is what struck home with me.

Caleb responded, “Jason Khalipa, Rich Froning, Kendrick J. Farris, and Daddy”

Now, I’m in no way a world famous athlete, or even an elite level Crossfitter, but I know, in the eyes of my two boys, that I’m a hero.

Today, we took the boys out to walk the Freedom Fitness Trail here at Fort Benning. While there, we talked about life, had a pull-up / toes-to-bar competition, and even went topless (yes, it was that kind of party!). This simple family event was not only free, but I was exactly what the boys needed in their life at the time.

I had recently finished my workout at the gym here on post, drove out to the trail, and ran to catch up with my wife, dog, and two boys. The both of them were waiting to start our competition.

The trail is about two miles long, and had a series of stations that had predetermined exercises which you could do to measure your fitness level. Of course, we all tried the “Champion” exercises which were more difficult than the others. As we’d walk from one station to the other, we would catch up on what’s going on in school, hear about the millions of things you could do on Mine Craft, and talk about the good, bad, and ugly of what happened this past week. But when it was time to “get-it-in“, we would! Pull-ups, uphill sprints, L-sits, and dips were no match for us! Mateo was pulling security the whole time with his “swords”, while Caleb and I had to go topless to deal with the heat (according to Caleb, our guns are fully loaded).

So, how is it that I made it to the Hero list? One memory at a time.

Growing up, the memories that I had involving my parents usually involved them being at work, or my brother and I going to work with them to lend a helping hand. Though this was necessary, it didn’t really present an example of the type of life I wanted when I got older. Knowing this, my wife and I try to give our kids as many memories as possible. These experiences that we share together are what they will tell their kids about, and will serve as a model for them when it comes to having families of their own.

It’s easy for us to say that we’re tied up at work, and that our days have gotten the best of us. But think towards the future, and what stories your kids will tell about you. Are you the type of person that puts your children second in life? Did you head straight for the couch, crack open a cold one, and watch t.v.?

Forget that! Not us. We’re better than that, and so are you.

When you ask kids who their heroes are, they may tell you its some basketball star, some fictional character in a book, or one of those cool action heroes like Iron Man – but, what about you?

Be proactive in writing your story. Make yourself the person that your kids will remember most in life. Get yourself on that list!

Take your kids to the park, have a wrestling match with them, share one of your childhood memories with them, anything. Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. 

This is what we’re all about.

Fight on friends! – The Warrior Family
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Constructive vs. Empty Praise

“Good job, Son!” … Sounds good, right?
Communicating with my two boys has been a hard lesson for me to learn. Thankfully, I have been put in situations where I have been taught to communicate in a way which will promote a desired end state.
What does all of that mean?
I learned that what I was giving my boys is known as Empty Praise. Essentially, the simple “good job” is not actually reinforcing the act that achieved the results. Often times, the pat on the back, or the “good job”, are used as a quick way to acknowledge our kids, and go on with our busy day.
This is not doing anything for your kids!

Bottom line, telling your kids “good job” often times just isn’t enough.
Ideally, what you want to do is praise the act or process that achieved the results. Sure, starting with “good job” is appropriate to acknowledge the accomplishment, but what follows is most important.  Let us use the example of my son scoring 100% on a spelling test.
An example of Empty Praise would be:
“Good Job, Son”…and I continue doing whatever it was before he decided to share his accomplishment with me.
An example of Constructive Praise would be:
“Good Job, Son. All of that time that YOU spent studying, and writing out those sentences really paid off!” 
The conversation could continue, but if it didn’t because of other obligations, this would be a more effective way of praising your child’s behavior.
The main difference between the two is that first, I acknowledge him by saying “good job”, but then I proceed to point out what processes led him to his successful grade. So, not only will he be happy that I am proud of him, but he will most likely repeat this behavior since he was made aware of what led him to the good grade the first place.
Our children want our attention, and they want to be acknowledged for their accomplishments in life, no matter how small. Utilizing constructive praise makes it more likely that your children will be willing to share their accomplishments with you, making your relationship stronger, and reinforcing constructive behaviors for your children to use in the future.

 Until next time, friends!

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on friends! – The Warrior Family

If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, like us on twitter @thewarriorfam, and leave a comment.

Fitness for Everyone!

Your kids will likely follow your example no matter what it is that you do. Why not lead them toward a life of good health and fitness?

If anything, one of the biggest motivators to getting in shape should be to increase your families quality of life. Here are some of the things that we did to help our kids, and ourselves stay healthy:
After dinner walks:
In Germany, one of our favorite things to do was to take our daily walks right after dinner. This would not only help digestion, but it would also facilitate conversation. I got to know my kids more, and more each time we walked to the park. We would often play tag, make up an obstacle course, and race each other. This type of interaction was important since I had to make up for the 12 or 15 months I would spend in Afghanistan every other year.
Start a club:
When we moved to Fort Benning, GA, I had to start my time as a Drill Sergeant. This meant little to no interaction with my kids or wife, which meant no more amazing after dinner walks. So, one thing my wife did was volunteer as a coach for the schools run club (which was run by another member of The Warrior Family team). This meant the boys, and my wife, would get together with 20-30 elementary school kids, and do sprints, play games, or even run around the neighborhood. The club was so effective that the children would compete at local races, and often win medals! This had an extraordinary effect on their confidence, and their overall fitness level.
Be The Example
I have been a paratrooper in the Army for seven years now. I loved competing in Army functions, and would often do races where my wife would also participate, and my kids would watch. Since 2009, I have been really big into Crossfit, and continually watch instructional videos, or technique ones as well. Recently, my boys asked if I would train them on the Olympic lifts (I have been certified since 2009). I must say, that was one of the most awesome things I have ever felt – to know that my boys want to go beyond the ordinary, and compete at an elite level like they see on the videos I watch. So, we started training: 
     First, before every time they wanted to play any video game, they owed me two minutes of movement: 5 push ups/5 sit ups/ and five jumps for as many rounds as possible (commonly referred to as an AMRAP). Then, we began developing form, and precise movement patterns. This, my friends, will continue since their motor patterns will change as they grow.
Here is a photo after our handstand push-up competition:

The boys and I had so much fun!
I would never think that a six, and nine year old would be capable of doing something so complex – they sure did impress me.
Mateo: 5 w/kips
Caleb: 5 w/kips
Dad: 6 stict form

I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for how interested my wife and kids are in fitness, I probably would have lost my motivation a long time ago. However, since they show so much interest, I will continue to teach, and mentor them to become as strong physically, and intellectually as possible.
Until next time, friends!
Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on friends! – The Warrior Family

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Tips to improve Focus pt.2

So you all know, I have to give credit where it is due. The inspiration for these posts on focus came from a man I recently began looking up to named Mike Bledsoe. He is one of the creators of the podcast Barbell Shrugged, and his side project is Bledsopia – where he talks about everything you could possibly think of.

Ok, where was I? Focus…
Like I said on the last post, whatever it is that was distracting you before, can probably wait. Today’s helpful hint is made possible by our friends who created the iPhone. 
When you really need to get things done, the best thing to do is turn that thing off, right? Not so much.
If you find yourself having a hard time doing that, learn to employ the “Do not Disturb” function in the iPhone. When activated, the phone gives off no indication of incoming phone calls, or messages, but gives you the convenience of being able to get to it later…WHEN IT MATTERS!
You can even program this function to allow certain phone calls to come through normally. All that person has to do is call you back within a three minute window, and your phone will ring. History shows that if something is important, you will probably get a phone call, and not a text message. I currently have my wife, and some colleagues from work set under my favorites, so when the call me twice in a row, the phone will ring as normal. 
So, when at the gym, doing homework, or having a conversation with your loved ones, give them the attention they deserve. You’ll be surprised, once you get used to using this, those things that used to make you lose your train of thought wont matter so much anymore.

If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, like us on twitter @thewarriorfam, and leave a comment.

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on friends! – The Warrior Family

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Tips to Improve Focus…ok, what?

Focusing and maximizing time is a hard thing to do when we are as distracted as we are. We live in a time where many peoples attention span is limited to how fast they slide their finger across the screen of their telephone. This causes several problems.

First, the people we should be paying attention to aren’t getting enough of it. When I moved back to the United States after living in Germany, one of the biggest things I had to get used to was how people didn’t really have conversations anymore. I remember very clearly sitting in a circle with friends, trying to talk about the past, and noticing that all of their heads were down staring at their smart phones. After living here for a few months, I found myself caught up in the same issue, and began trying to force myself to leave the phone in my pocket, on silent, while I visit with people. The need to see what the rest of the world was doing was eating at my productivity. I remember sneaking in occasional peeks at my social profiles while in the middle of homework for my college courses, what’s the big deal? Could this stuff not wait?

So, I’m going to post a few things that we can do to somewhat minimize the distractions we get from our smart phones/social media profiles.

Manage your time:

If we allow ourselves too much time to accomplish a list of tasks, there will not be enough pressure to actually ensure they get done. One method that could make you more productive is giving yourself time blocks to complete certain tasks. For example, when I get home, I know I have to eat, help with the dishes, talk to the wife, hang with the boys, and get my equipment ready for the next day (uniform, tactical gear, etc.). If I get home at 1930 (7:30PM), that gives me two and a half hours to get all of that done. Without setting time-hacks for myself, there is no pressure, and I have found that usually something doesn’t get done. Here’s what a more effective schedule would look like:

Eat dinner-15 min.
Hang out with the boys (before shower)-15 min.
Help with dishes (and send boys to shower)-30 min.
Talk to wife – done while washing dishes
Finish hanging with boys (and send to bed)-30 min.
Talk with the wife (or watch an episode of Supernatural) – 30 min.
Get equipment ready – 15 min.
Check social media – 15 min.

This may seem extensive, and a little crazy, but something strange happens when you add a timer to the equation. The same reason a timer is effective in things like Crossfit, time limits motivate you to get things done while focusing on one task at a time. Also, I have found that I usually finish my small tasks well before the time is up (probably because of my competitive side).

There is an article published in the Crossfit Journal that talks about this. Here is the link:

Give it a try, and let me know what you all think. I will post other tips throughout the week. MTF

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.

Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family