In his long time in property and real estate, Property Guru, speaker and Spectrum Investments president Carl Dy has seen far too many fathers who excel in the work-life, yet are inactive and cold at home. His latest webinar, ‘The Family CEO,’ co-created by his wife Jenny, is an admittedly more personal and spiritual take on his usual speaking engagements, dedicated to running the household like a good, honest CEO. Here are a few words of advice for fathers lifted from excerpts of his webinar through these family scenarios.
SCENARIO ONE: HOUSEHOLD ROLES
Your wife is cleaning up at home, but then muses to herself that no one is helping her. The next day, you decide to help her out this time, but instead, she feels like you’re overstepping her boundaries and roles in the family. How do you deal with this misunderstanding of unclear roles in the household?
Dy and his wife Jenny shared a similar experience in the past, but they worked it out by properly communicating and delegating roles similar to corporate positions – Dy would be the CEO in charge of finances and long-term decision making, while Jenny would be the COO, in charge of the day-to-day operations. Dy describes his CEO role as also doubling as a “Chief Encouraging Officer” for his three daughters. He encourages more families to openly communicate and to delegate roles to the family members so roles are more defined, saying, “The roles are very clear – their strengths, their weaknesses, and they don’t overlap each other.”
“Each member feels purposeful as their as their gifts and talents are appreciated by the whole family,” he concludes.
SCENARIO TWO: MAY HONOR KA BA?
Your children struggle with grades, and they worked day and night to improve them. One managed to pass with flying colors, but the other missed the honor roll by 0.5 point. You praise the first child to the heavens, but the first thing you tell the second child is, “Why do you not have honors?,” without an encouraging word, and even comparing their sibling. The first child is then more pressured to do better each time, while the second is stuck being dejected and unmotivated, dreading being compared to their sibling yet again.
Describing his “Chief Encouraging Officer” role, Dy says, “It’s a good reminder for a lot of dads because not a lot of dads are encouraging. Some are criticizing. It’s just a lack of modeling and telling dads that ‘You know it’s okay, you can say some good things. It won’t hurt.’”
He warns, however, to word encouragements correctly and to encourage the action. “You should say, ‘You were so hard working to get this done.’ Never say statements like, ‘You’re so good’ or ‘You’re so handsome,’ because it goes to their head, and they might think, ‘What if I’m not an honor student?,’ but if you appreciate the effort, the persistence, the diligence, the resourcefulness, then it encourages them.”
When inevitable differences arise among siblings, he shares that the best way to explain it to children is to verbally reassure and affirm them that they are all different in their own way, without comparison. “Don’t say, ‘you’re weird,’ instead, say, ‘you’re different,’” he explains, to encourage children to know that other opinions and personalities are also valid.
SCENARIO THREE: EXPRESS YOURSELF
The family sits down in their dinner table, enjoying the delicious food prepared ahead of them. The second child is still dejected over not reaching the honor roll. For some reason, you once again reiterate that they are underperforming compared to the sibling. The child retaliates, saying that they worked hard and can show it, but your immediate response is to not answer back. Your wife and your other child try to defuse the situation, but all that’s left is your dinner that doesn’t taste so good anymore.
Just like a business meeting, Dy believes that families should hold meetings and get insights among themselves – but not over dinner. “If you’re reprimanding over dinner, then the dinner experience will become negative,” he explained. Instead, meetings should be held separately. He cites his own family meeting, where his family openly share their thoughts on anything under the sun. “Everybody should be speaking. No criticizing, just like a business meeting. Even my six-year-old, she’s allowed to verbalize everything, what she feels about it. And it’s always moving forward,” he shares.
“The mistake of other dads is to get mad and criticize their kids when they answer back. So when you are getting reprimanded for answering back, you eventually just quite down, and you say, ‘Okay, dad, fine. You know what? I’m not gonna share my sentiments.’ And eventually when they’re teenagers they usually just rebel and go somewhere else. There’s anger in their hearts,” he explains. “Kids, at six to ten years old, are not given that courage to speak out. And when they grow older, they become used to not speaking out to elders that they’re not able to communicate well.”
He encourages his children to respectfully disagree with him, “because I want them to also be used to say no. For example, a boy comes along and courts her, and they don’t like him, they can say no. Because I, as their father figure, allowed them to say no and disagree.” Expressing themselves is something he encourages among families. “In the past generation, there was really a lack of assurance and affirmation,” he explains, “A lot of people I know don’t pursue their passions and dreams because they were not given that affirmation.”
SCENARIO FOUR: A GRATEFUL HEART
Hoping to defuse the situation, you approach your rejected child. They feel like a failure, and they feel unmotivated. It turns out that they don’t know what to do with the rest of their life, since what’s constantly on their mind is the now, which is passing grades. And since that’s what they think is on your mind, it’s hard for them to tell you what they truly feel.
Dy encourages families to set goals, but not about the ambitions they have. “What are you grateful for to God last year? What are you praying for this year?,” he frames the setting of goals as.
Dy recounts writing goal-settings with his family, and his children were encouraged to go in front and present to everybody. “We want to encourage transparency in the whole family wherein, ‘I know your pains, I know your burdens, I know your happiness,’ and we are all just happy to help you. For parents, this is a good exercise, because as they talk, you see what’s in their hearts,” he shares. “You get to see into the hearts of your [children]. And in every step of the way as a dad, you are encouraging, you are not judging, you are not criticizing.”
Ultimately, it’s all about sharing gratefulness. “If you’re not grateful, you’re complaining. You could only fill your heart with one.” And having no direction nor assurance from mentors or parental figures can lead to feeling down or depressive. “You’re not pushing yourself forward. That’s why you’re only looking back, because you don’t have something to look forward to.”
On what led him to him beginning to give talks about parenting years ago, Dy shares, “When you’re 30, you just wanna get rich and get money, but when you reach a certain point in your life, you wanna start asking, ‘Hey, what does God want me to do?’” “My topics were ‘Daddy Hacks’ [and] love language to teach dads how to be more expressive, because I feel that’s what’s lacking in the Fil-Chi community,” he expressed. Ultimately, as a father, Dy wants to leave a legacy for his children to the “audience of One.” “You just do everything for God. You use your God-given talents to do God’s work, to be a blessing to God’s people and to God’s children. Know that everything you have is God’s, and you’re just borrowing it,” he explains.
‘The Family CEO’ was a result of that, hoping he could set an example and share insights on how to help fathers as the spiritual head of the family. ‘The Family CEO’ Zoom webinar is free of charge, and also includes more words of advice such as setting time blocks and incentivizing your children. The webinar is recommended for groups such as church groups, sports groups, homeschooling fathers, school PTAs, and office HR departments – anyone with dads in the group. “The hourlong workshop is my advocacy to share to fellow dads what I’m learning and how I am changing to be a better leader in the house,” Dy shares in describing the webinar. Although ‘The Family CEO’ is free, any contribution to Dy’s foundation, the Carl and Jenny Charity Foundation, is welcome, which will be used to help underprivileged and less fortunate.
“I feel like the Philippines lacks mentoring and modeling for dads…even for boys and men,” he expressed, and concluded in a message for fathers: “You should be present, you should be visible, you should give affirmation to build up the confidence, you should not criticize too much, you should be encouraging, [and] you make family time fun…exactly what you should be doing in business.”