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Helping Men Prepare for Fatherhood

Air Date 09/12/2017

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NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, a father of five young children, offers advice and encouragement to new dads in a discussion based on his book The New Dad's Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life.

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Teaser:

Benjamin Watson: You need to sit in the garage, or in front of the house for five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever it is. And when you walk through that door, you need to be husband, father, leader …

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s Benjamin Watson. And he’s the father of five children and a very successful NFL veteran. He’s offering advice and encouragement for new dads today on “Focus on the Family.” Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John. I want to start with a scripture - Ephesians 6:4, which says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” I find that interesting. It doesn’t say moms. It says dads. This is one of our major roles - is to help bring up the kids in the way they should go. And today we’re gonna talk about that. I think moms have that natural instinct - most moms. I know some struggle after giving birth to their children. But most moms have that natural instinct for nurturing a baby. Men - we don’t.

I mean, a lot of times we want to run away. Let’s go play golf with the guys, and I don’t know anything about this. My wife said she’s pregnant. I don’t know what to do next. Today, guys, and for the women you love - ladies, let me tell you, this is the book you’re going to want to give to your husband if you’re expecting. We’re gonna talk about how men need to play a more formidable role in that moment when you’re pregnant.

John: And the book Jim is referring to is called, The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up For The Biggest Game Of Your Life. It is written by Benjamin Watson. And Benjamin knows what he talks about here. He’s got five children - three boys, two girls. And we’re looking forward to his advice on being a good husband and father.

Body:

Jim: Benjamin, welcome to “Focus on the Family.”

Benjamin: Great to be here with you guys.

Jim: Now, of course, your occupation is impressive. You’ve been in the NFL - your 14th season right now, and, man, that’s something.

Benjamin: Well, the average is about three and a half, and I didn’t think I’d make it past five.

(LAUGHTER)

Benjamin: So my first five years, I had multiple injuries. It was rough. I got drafted to the Patriots in 2004, played there for six years, and every year...

Jim: That was really rough - being a Bronco fan. That had to be really hard on you.

Benjamin: Well, yeah, definitely. You know, we had some - we had some great games against the Broncos, actually...

Jim: OK, stop braggin’ (laughter).

Benjamin: ...Some great games, but I mean, you know, you guys - you guys did beat us a few times. But, uh, anyway...

Jim: You beat us a few more, unfortunately, during that time.

Benjamin: (Laughter) Exactly so...

Jim: But that’s been - that’s a hectic environment. I mean, the thing that - that I wanted to ask you is, you know, there’s a lot of occupations that really pull your time. NFL football is certainly one of them. You’re expected to be there. You’re all in. How do you balance family?

Benjamin: Well...

Jim: You know, you could be a doctor. A doctor might be listening...

Benjamin: Of course.

Jim: ...A lawyer - people that spend 60, 70 hours a week in their vocation, especially men because we pour into it. How do you manage all that? Your wife, Kirsten, and the five kids - how do you do it?

Benjamin: Well, I manage the time, I guess, the way any other parent does. We all have a certain - specific amounts of time that we can spend at home, and that’s different for every occupation. The one great thing I like about my occupation is that while we go really hard - and sometimes, you know, especially training camp, I don’t see the family at all really for about six weeks, you know, we’re going all day, all night long.

During the season, it’s definitely very, very intense. We have one day off a week during the season, and it’s not really off because you’ve got to maintain your body that’s getting beat up during the week. But then, after the season, we have large chunks of time. So we’ll have two months or three months where we have no real responsibilities.

Jim: It’s almost like a schoolteacher (laughter).

Benjamin: Exactly. Exactly so - and I say that to say that no matter what your occupation is you have to figure out, um, when you’re going to have those pockets of time.

And it’s really not always about the amount of time. It’s about the amount of time that’s home and how intentional you are about being present

Jim: Right.

Benjamin: Because you can be a father that is - his body is there, you know, for two, three days a week, and he goes to work for four days, but his mind is somewhere totally - somewhere else. But if you’re there for, you know, an hour a day, two hours a day, whatever it is, and you’re totally focused on your children and your wife, then they sense that, and that goes a lot deeper than it does wide.

Jim: Well, that’s what I love so much about who you are, because you’re – somehow, you’re able to not compartmentalize. I think men, we tend to compartmentalize everything, and we get tunnel vision. So if you’re doing what you’re doing at the - you know, look at it - the height of your career. You’re an NFL player.

That consumes your mind and your body. And for you to be able to come home and then say, OK, that’s there. Now I’m going to be all in with my wife and my kids. And your book is beautifully written that way - The New Dad’s Playbook. I was really impressed with how you could turn off your work life, and then turn on being 100 percent dad and husband.

Benjamin: Well, it wasn’t always that way (laughter)...

Jim: OK, so tell me about that.

Benjamin: ...At all, because I am a recovering perfectionist. I say recovering, but I still struggle with it at times. And what I mean by that is, I would bring my work home a lot of times. The first five, six years of my career - at least the first five years, if I had a great practice, I was a joy to be around. If I had a poor practice, or the coach yelled at me, I was a pain to be around. You could ask my wife, uh...

Jim: Now most people say, OK, that’s pretty normal. How did that change?

Benjamin: It is. But, I remember a teammate of mine - sometimes, you know, God uses people to say stuff to you that you already know is true, but sometimes it just clicks, when certain people say it.

Jim: Right.

Benjamin: A guy named Tedy Bruschi - he played linebacker for the Patriots for a number of years. He’s working on ESPN now. And I can remember, we didn’t have kids at the time. He had a few kids. And he would say, you know what, Benjamin?

When you come home, you need to sit in the garage, or in front of the house for five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever it is. And when you walk through that door, you need to be husband, father, leader, Benjamin - because your family doesn’t care about what happened at work.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: They care, but they need you here. They don’t need you with a bad attitude, because of something as - as fleeting as a day at practice. And the next day, the day before, doesn’t matter anyway.

Jim: Boy, how many men need to hear that - that don’t play in the NFL?

Benjamin: Yeah, exactly. So it’s...

Jim: I mean, that is great advice.

Benjamin: ...It’s applicable to everyone.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: And, you know, God has given us different jobs to do and things that, you know, that are very, very important. Our work is important, no matter what it is. That’s how we provide for our families. That’s how we - those are the talents that we’ve been given, and all that good stuff. But when we’re at home, it’s really important to be there, mentally. And that’s a hard thing for me and every other guy that I’ve ever talked to.

Jim: Well, it’s true. And again, I love in your book, The New Dad’s Playbook, how you described for that expecting father - if I could say it that way--we’re always saying, “expecting mother”...

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: ...But dad’s got a role in that. 2008, your wife says, guess what, honey? We’re pregnant! What hits you? What were those emotions like?

Benjamin: Um, I was - I kind of had that - that kind of half smile, half dread.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: I think they have an emoji for that. You know, I was kind of...

Jim: And what was the dread part?

Benjamin: (Laughter).

Jim: I mean, speaking on behalf of men, what was the dread part?

Benjamin: Well, the dread part is the “Oh, my goodness, now this life is coming into the world, and I’m responsible for it.” All of a sudden, my work life is not just about me, and it’s not just about my wife. It’s about raising a child and supporting a family. And it’s one thing when you’re in your family of origin, and you say, oh, yeah, I have brothers and sisters, and I saw my parents do it. It’s another thing when it’s your responsibility.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: You know what I’m saying so...

Jim: It’s like you’re he grownup all of a sudden.

Benjamin: Exactly. And realize – you realize, man, you know, time flies. But there’s an excitement there, too. There’s - you know, especially, you know if - we planned to wait about three years. We were married in 2005. We waited about three years - traveled, did some stuff, got to know each other, worked a lot of the kinks out. She taught me how to be a husband (laughter), basically, and then we decided to start having kids. So there was an excitement there, but it was also a little bit of fear.

Jim: Yeah. Now, Kirsten - you did something in a game, after scoring a touchdown...

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: ...That I read about, that I thought was funny. It did cost you some money.

Benjamin: It cost me a little bit of money.

Jim: What did you do, and why did you do it?

Benjamin: Well, the NFL had a rule about not using the football as a prop. And so my wife was, you know, fully pregnant - eight months pregnant with the baby, almost nine months pregnant. I knew she’d be watching the game.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: So I scored a touchdown and put the ball under my shirt, like I was pregnant...

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: ...You know, rubbed it, pointed at the camera - not taunting anybody, you know, just giving my wife...

John: It was a message to your wife. It was a great thing.

Benjamin: ...Giving my wife a shout-out - I know you’re watching. I’m away from you for two weeks. I know you’re probably miserable right now. I’m sorry I can’t be there, but I’m thinking about you. On Wednesday - in the NFL...

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: ...If you get a FedEx package, an envelope, Federal Express, sitting on your chair, or in your locker on Wednesdays in the NFL, you know it is a fine.

Jim: It’s a booboo.

Benjamin: It is. You know money’s coming out of your check. And so I had the fine letter. And I was fined $10,000 for that. I appealed it, explained, you know, pled my case, and they reduced it to $5,000. But I didn’t - haven’t done that for any of the other kids.

(LAUGHTER)

Benjamin: That was kind of a one-time...


John: That was an expensive shout-out to your wife.

Benjamin: Yeah, that was a one-time thing.

Jim: From your wife Kirsten’s perspective, that may have been the best $5,000 investment you ever made (laughter).

Benjamin: It probably was.

Jim: Did she love it?

Benjamin: She did. She did, but she said don’t do it again.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: You know.

John: Could’ve used the 5,000 some other way.

Benjamin: Exactly (laughter).

John: It could’ve gone into the college fund - right? - or flowers or something.

Benjamin: She was like, don’t do it again. But we had - you know we don’t have a lot of football pictures - we don’t have any in our house.

John: Seriously?

Benjamin: Yeah. We don’t have any...

John: So your work pictures aren’t anywhere in the house.

Benjamin: They’re all family pictures. But that was the one thing that we had in my daughter’s - there was a news article. And so, when we lived in our other house, before we moved, we had the article my daughter’s room, you know, just a picture of me...

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Benjamin: ...You know, it was just a fun thing. I have the ball and everything.

John: Oh, that’s great.

Benjamin: Yeah, so...

Jim: That’s great. Well, I think that’s a great thing for a dad to do.

John: I wonder if we can post that picture, maybe.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: Oh, Yeah, we can get ahold of that, yeah.

Jim: Well, send that along. We’ll put that up online.

Jim: OK, we’ve got to get to the real nuts and bolts of your book, The New Dad’s Playbook. You encourage men in the book to be a student of their wife, which I think is great. That’s the right thing to do. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, because we’re busy, and we’ve got all kinds of excuses. But you talk about doing that. What do you mean by becoming a student? I think I get it. But what did you do, practically speaking, to become a student of your wife?

Benjamin: Well, the first thing - well, I wouldn’t say the first thing, but one of the main things that I circled around to was - I know you guys are familiar with The 5 Love Languages book. And it talks about how, you know, we serve our wives, and how they receive love from us.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: And one of the mistakes that men make - at least that I made coming into marriage - thinking that I know everything, thinking that she’s gonna respond to me the way I respond to her and understanding that - you know what? - she’s different than me in that way. She responds in a different way.

Her love language may be different than mine. And for my wife, it’s words of affirmation. And she loves it when I tell her, Kirsten, you’re doing a great job leading this house, being a mother to our children, being a wife. When I affirm her in that way, verbally—to her, that’s more important than me buying her gifts. Now, she likes a gift. Who doesn’t like a gift?

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, right.

Benjamin: But that’s not her main way of receiving love, and so my point is that being a student of your wife is about learning how you can best serve them, and especially when it comes to this time period, where they are pregnant with our babies. Maybe it’s your first, second, third baby - it doesn’t matter. Maybe you want to do something better this time than you did the first time, and you weren’t really a student, and asking her - a lot of times men don’t ask.

Jim: Right.

Benjamin: We think we know, and we don’t ask, how can I serve you? What do you need me to do?

Jim: You also - I want all the moms who are going to go, oh, that’s so wonderful. There was a time when - I don’t know if it’s your first child - when you’re expecting your first child, but in that first trimester your wife, Kirsten, was struggling, having morning sickness and you just held her. You didn’t necessarily know what to do.

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: How did that speak to her?

Benjamin: I kind of stumbled upon doing something good.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I love the honesty of that, OK. Yeah, this is most men right here...

Benjamin: You know, I stumbled upon it. And then 10 years later, I got a pat on the back for it.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: We were out we were on a vacation, kind of like a “babymoon.” You know, I talk about that in the book - taking some time to go somewhere. It could be somewhere locally. It could be going to a hotel overnight. It could be going somewhere across the ocean. It doesn’t matter. But taking some time, and that’s, you know, in the beginning, and also in the end, where you just go away. And so we had gone away. It was her first trimester. She was sick. It was our first child. And um, I wake up, and I don’t see her in the bed. And I hear something in the bathroom. All the men know what that means, you know, they’re throwing up to the porcelain god.

(LAUGHTER)

Benjamin: But I go in there. And as a man, you want to fix everything. At least I do. You know, you want to get them out of this discomfort.

Jim: Right.

Benjamin: And sometimes the best thing you can do is just hold them. And so I got down on the floor, and I held her, mostly because I didn’t know what to do.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: So fast forward, five kids later, I heard her tell someone that that was probably one of the nicest thing that I ever did during a pregnancy, because I didn’t ask her a bunch of questions about, do you want me to get this? Do you want me to get that? Do you want me to do this? I just tried to empathetically enter into her experience.

Jim: Right.

Benjamin: And for her, at that time, that was what she needed.

Jim: Wow, that’s a - and now - yes, I can hear it through the microphones, John. Aww...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You just made the rest of us men look really bad (laughter).

Benjamin: But I mean it’s different - it’s different at different times. And, you know, sometimes it’s OK, you know, I’m sick in the - morning sickness. I need, you know, crackers and peanut butter. Make me feel better before you go to work...

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: ...Could you make this for me and then you go to work, so I have something sitting by my bed when I wake up? And there’s been times when I’ve done that.

Jim: And that is awesome. I love - you know, so many people would have the impression that you’re, you know, godlike in that you’re this player, and you’re not serving your wife, because she’s there to serve you.

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: This is a great illustration of a Christian marriage...

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: ...You know, where you’re rooted in Christ, and you’re doing the right thing, regardless of how much you make, playing with the Patriots, the Saints, the Ravens, whoever you’re playing for at the time. I love that, because that’s so much the heart, I believe, of God. Let me go back to that point. Where’d you accept Christ? How did that happen for you? What was instrumental in you finding the Lord?

Benjamin: Well, uh, my father actually led me to the Lord. And I was young. I was about 6 years old, when I really came to the knowledge that I needed to repent, and in faith receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was - my dad played football at University of Maryland. He was - he’s about my size. I’m a little bit taller than him, so I can talk trash to him.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I was going to say you’re not a small guy.

Benjamin: Yeah, he’s about 6’2. I’m 6’3. But...

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: ...He’s a pastor now. But I grew up in a home where both my parents were believers. We did a lot - traveling around. My father would speak at different FCA conferences and...

Jim: Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Benjamin: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, yes - Fellowship of Christian Athletes conferences around the country. And those were kind of like our family vacations. We’d all pack into our little car. I’m the oldest of six kids. At that point, there were only a couple of us - me and my little sister. But my father had this big teddy bear, and it was about my height. And one thing my dad would do was say - at night, before I went to bed he’d be like “Benjamin, do you want to fight the teddy bear?” And I’d be like, “yeah, yeah, yeah, Daddy. I want to fight the teddy bear.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: So I’m a little kid. The teddy bear’s about my size. He would get behind the teddy bear and box me with the teddy bear.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: I don’t know if he was trying to toughen me up or what. He played football. Maybe he was having a flashback. I don’t know what it was. But it was kind of our time to, you know, get out that manly testosterone aggression. And one night, I lost to the teddy bear. And as my parents tell me, they say, I was laying in my bed saying, “Daddy, you bring that teddy bear back here. I’m not going to bed until I beat that teddy bear!”

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: And my dad looked at my mom said, this boy has a serious problem. So he gets up, lets me win. And I remember that night - we were in Virginia Beach, Virginia. That’s where I lived for most of my childhood, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, growing up. And he said, “Benjamin, if you were to die tonight, do you know what would happen to you?” And as a child, and even now, I always had this kind of fixation with death, wanting to know where people went when they died. I would always ask about those sort of questions. And I kind of knew the church answer, being that I was in Sunday school and went to Vacation Bible School.

But I also knew that this needed to be a decision for myself. That it couldn’t be - one thing I did learn growing up was that you can’t, you know, ride on your parents’ coattails. And so he shared with me John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” And right there, at about 5, 6 years old, I repented of my sins, put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And that’s when I passed from death to life. But even in passing there, while my - while I was in eternal life, there still was definitely a growth process that is still continuing.

Jim: Sure.

Benjamin: You know, through my teenage years and through my college years and even up until now, but that’s the time I point to that I really understood...

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: ...And I made a decision.

Jim: You know, the issue of fatherlessness - you describe that loving relationship with your dad. And this isn’t a black, white, Latino issue. It’s an everybody issue now.

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: When you look at that picture, and you know what you benefited from having your dad close to you - and the players that you play with, they’re coming - many of them - from broken homes, what’s that impact like?

Benjamin: Well, that’s part of the book, honestly. That’s part of The New Dad’s Playbook, because part of it is a manual for encouraging fathers and giving them practical advice on how to navigate pregnancy, what it is, what to expect when you go to the OB appointment, all those practical things that we don’t know about - the change that’s going to happen.

But the other part of the book is encouraging men that they have what it takes, because a man wants to know if he has what it takes. I had a conversation with a teammate not too long ago. About two months…his girlfriend’s two months pregnant. His father is not in the picture. And he came to me. He said, “Man, I got your book.” This is before I even told him about the book. He went and got it and was reading it on his own. He said, “I don’t really read books, but I’m reading this one.” And I said, “Let me tell you somethin’. No matter what happened in your family of origin - if your father was there or not - you have what it takes. And you have an opportunity to change the course of generations. It’s not gonna be easy at all, but part of it is you preparing and understanding that it’s not going to be easy, but understanding that you have a choice that you can make that can change.” And he’s like, “Ya know, I don’t want my kid to grow up the same way that I did.” And so for me, having a father, I feel like I’m tremendously blessed.

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: You know, the importance of a father is really - we are - as men, we are a lot of times - and our charge with being our child’s initial idea of what the Heavenly Father is. And so we do that imperfectly, obviously.

But when you talk about a Heavenly Father who is merciful, who is loving, who is a God of justice, who is a God that will give to his children what they need and provide for them, a God who protects his children throughout Scripture. He’s a refuge and a strength - that’s what a father, an earthly father, tries to emulate, although we don’t do it very well all the time.

Jim: Right.

John: Yeah.

Benjamin: And so that’s part of the reason - a major reason why it’s important to have a father. And it’s important for fathers to stick it out and be there - is because you end up having a generation of kids who - now, in God’s sovereignty, He can bring anybody to Himself, but they also don’t have an idea of what a Heavenly Father is, because they don’t have earthly father, and it makes it very, very difficult.

Jim: Well, and that anger and...

Benjamin: Exactly.

Jim: ...Often that rage that’s in there, because they didn’t experience that. That’s all part of it.

Benjamin: Exactly.

Jim: Benjamin, we are near the end. And I want to just rattle off a few of the practical points that you make in The New Dad’s Playbook. And again, moms, this is a great book for you to pick up for your husband, the dad in your life.

Benjamin: Actually, moms, you’re the target audience...

Jim: (Laughter) No kidding.

Benjamin: ...Because you know guys don’t want to buy a book.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jim: Right, and they’re not going to buy that one necessarily. But - but give me two or three of the things that stuck out for you in this book and as a dad as the practical advice. I mean, you said in there you like changing diapers. Come on, really? (laughter)

Benjamin: Well, for me, changing diapers was really my time with the child. It was my way to bond. And so I - you know, I...

Jim: That is a very positive way to look at that.

John: That is a very positive way, yeah.

Benjamin: I’m not blessed with the equipment to nurse. And so I don’t do that.

John: (Laughter) But you can change a diaper.

Benjamin: And so I can change a diaper. And part of it is actually serving her.

John: Yeah.

Benjamin: So she’s nursing. I mean, there were times when, you know - whether you nurse or whether you do formula, whatever it is, your decision - but as men, we have to be able to find our ways to help out. And sometimes, there were times when I would cook. In the book I talk about - you know, there might be time where you gotta look up something on Google...

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: ...And you need to cook because the smells are killing your wife. She can’t be around food. Or maybe she doesn’t feel well. My wife would have migraines. And you may have to hold it down and cook something. It may not be like hers. But it’ll be edible. The kids’ll be fine, and they’ll live. Um, and so it’s getting out of your comfort zone. Um, I talk about, you know, getting maternity clothes. I talk about, baby showers and now the whole coed baby shower type deal we have now.

Jim: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, are you talking about guys being involved in the baby shower?

Benjamin: Well, there’s co-ed baby showers now, man. That was new to me.

John: You didn’t do that, Jim?

Jim: I was present. I was trying to just serve all the lemonade and all that stuff.

Benjamin: So you were there.

Jim: I was there for that one.

Benjamin: (Laughter).

Jim: Yeah, so I was ahead of the game. I didn’t have the chance to read your book at that time.

Benjamin: Exactly, I mean, it’s kind of a new thing. And I was introduced to it around our third kid, but we had a blast.

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: I mean, some of the practical things I talk about is, when you go to the delivery room, if you’re gonna get anesthesia, get the head anesthesiologist...

Jim: (Laughter).

Benjamin: ...Because the rookies will mess you - will mess her up. My wife has gone natural three times.

Jim: Yeah, out of the five.

Benjamin: Out of the five. She’s had two epidural. One worked, one didn’t. She’s had a water birth. So, I kind of know and kind of have the experience to...

Jim: You’ve got the spectrum.

Benjamin: Exactly, so...

Jim: OK, so you’re a guy that really likes a challenge. So here’s what happened with me. My wife, she’s a vegetarian. She’s very natural oriented.

Benjamin: Yeah.

Jim: All right, so she said, “I really don’t want to do any kind of drugs, when I have our baby.” And I’m like, OK. So she said, just “if I’m screamin’ for the drugs, do not let them give them to me.”

Benjamin: That’s a birth plan.

Jim: And I’m like, wow.

Benjamin: Making a birth plan.

Jim: So OK, it was informal (laughter), but I got that instruction. And so, I mean, she was struggling with Trent, our first born. She - 27 hours of labor.

Benjamin: Hoo.

Jim: And she’s looking at me going, “Get the doctor! I want the epidural now! Now!”

Benjamin: That’s an audible. That’s an audible to the birth plan. (Laughter).

Jim: I’m saying, “But honey, but honey, you said no.”

Benjamin: Sign right here.

Jim: You said no. She (laughter)...

Benjamin: Sign right here that it’s OK for me to change the birth plan, and we can do it.

John: That is a disaster in the making.

Jim: It’s not a good position to be in. It’s what I call a lose-lose (laughter).

Benjamin: It is. It is. But - but, you know, and that’s part of it, too. The part of the story is you have to be flexible.

Jim: Right, I hear that.

Benjamin: And when it comes to pregnancy, when it comes to birth, and even after when the baby comes home and everybody wants to come over and see the baby, you’re kind of the gatekeeper at that time.

Maybe you’re adding new kids to the mix when you already have a few. I talk about that a little bit as well. It’s about being flexible and understanding that, you know, it’s not gonna be perfect. You don’t gotta be perfect to be the perfect dad.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Well, that’s so well said. I’ve got a couple more questions. But we’re going to have to do it for the online side. And so for our listeners, if you want to go to the website, I just want to ask you a couple more things...

Benjamin: OK.

Jim: ...Before we sign off and we’ll do that. So, John, you can give everybody the details how to go over there and - and check out the additional questions.

John: Yeah, that’s www.focusonthefamily.com/radio, or if you can’t find the website, Google it, or call us 800-A-FAMILY, 1-800-232-6459. And we’ve talked about Benjamin’s book. It’s The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up For The Biggest Game Of Your Life. It’s a great resource. We’ve got it at the website, or give us a call. And, uh, please, when you get in touch, make a generous donation to support this ministry as we equip parents, particularly new dads.

And if you can make a donation of any amount today, we’ll send Benjamin’s book to you as our way of saying thanks for joining our support team and making sure you have this excellent resource.

Jim: Benjamin, before we say goodbye, you had one story in the book that I so appreciated - you and the family taking a vacation. You’re all on the airplane together. Now, every mom and dad just went, yeah, the air - the airplane trip, yikes. But that turned into something positive. What happened?

Benjamin: Well, we were - we were on a - on a flight. And any time we go through the airport, it’s kind of like, everybody’s staring at us.

Jim: Mom and Dad and five kids.

Benjamin: “Are those all yours?” “Do you know where they came from?” You know, all the stuff you get.

Jim: Oh, my goodness, yes. How could you?

Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, but we pride ourselves, we get through security faster than anybody, man. I mean, there’s people that are by themselves and we’re looking at them like, why is it taking you so long. We have five kids.

Jim: You’re not really competitive, are you?

(LAUGHTER)

Benjamin: My wife is - my wife is more competitive - she’s more competitive than me. But we’re on the plane. And we’re sitting there. And I was kind of just, um, I guess, upset, um, just, you know, aggravated, you know, after, you know, corralling everybody - somebody’s got to use the bathroom - and just not really being there, being - I just had a bad attitude, basically. So we get on the plane, finally. We’re finally here, we got on the plane. A flight attendant comes up behind me, and he said, “Wow, you’ve got a beautiful family.”

And I was like, thanks, you know. I wasn’t - I wasn’t feeling like it was a beautiful family at that time, because they were stressing me out. You know, we had driven to the airport and all that good stuff. And then he said, um, you know, “My wife and I’ve been married for X number of years, 20 years, and - and we’ve - we’ve been trying to have kids, but we, uh, we haven’t been able to. And it’s really great to see these big families and, you know, God bless you,” you know, and everything. And I felt like the biggest loser and idiot. But - but at that point, it kind of reminded me - God used him to remind me to be thankful.

Jim: In all things.

Benjamin: In all things.

Jim: Even going to the airport with your kids.

Benjamin: Exactly, because it’s a blessing to be able to go to the airport with my kids.

Jim: Amen.

Benjamin: And - and for my kids to be able to walk through the security line, and for them to be able to talk to me and tell me, “Hey, dad, I got to use the bathroom.”

Jim: Yeah.

Benjamin: For us to be able to have the opportunity, even to go on a flight somewhere. And sometimes, we’re just ungrateful.

Jim: That may be the best lesson you’ve taught us in this whole time, is that not to choose aggravation with your kids. Choose love. That is good. Benjamin Watson, it has been great having you here.

Benjamin: Great to be here.

Jim: I’m gonna watch you this season now, so you’re – you’re a friend.

Benjamin: So - so even when - if we play Denver, you’re going to be...

Jim: Yeah. I’ll be cheering for you.

Benjamin: Just cheer for me. I’ll take that.

Jim: You catch - you catch those passes - but we gotta win. I’m sorry.

Benjamin: Cheer for me. It’s like - it’s like like my aunt and the Cowboys. Every time we play the Cowboys, in my whole career, she’s been like, “Benjamin, I hope you do well…but go Cowboys.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: She hasn’t said fumble.

Benjamin: No, she hasn’t gone that far. She may have when I can’t hear her, when we’re watching TV.

Jim: We love it. Well, God bless you.

Benjamin: Thank you guys.

Jim: All right.

Closing:

John: And again, you’ll find all sorts of great insights in Benjamin’s book, The New Dad’s Playbook. We’ve got that at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or, once again, our phone number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And coming up next time, you’ll hear one man’s dramatic story of sharing God’s love with hopeless children living on the streets of Kenya.

Excerpt:

Dr. Charles Mully: Now I was confronted by the power of the Holy Spirit and God said, “You are the one. I have appointed you to be the father to all these open street children and men and women and bring them the light.”

End of Excerpt

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Guest

Benjamin Watson

View Bio

Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens. His NFL career began in 2004 when he was drafted by the New England Patriots. He received a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season and appeared in another Super Bowl in 2007. In 2010, Benjamin joined the Cleveland Browns and led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He signed a three year contract with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 and joined the Ravens in 2016. Off the field, Benjamin stays busy with his foundation, One More, his growing family and the NFL Players Association, where he serves on the Executive Committee. He is also an NFL spokesman for the All Pro Dad Campaign. Benjamin has authored two books, Under Our Skin and The New Dad's Playbook. Learn more about Benjamin by visiting his website, www.thebenjaminwatson.com.