Theme Park for the Father’s Values

Today’s episode I’m excited about because I think me and Jeremy both love this topic, kind of love thinking through this lens. And that is one tip we have for you dads today is make your home a theme park of your values. Not just dad, but also mom, but specifically talking to the dads. What this means is, I think so many times dads think that home is a domain they’re not welcome in, they shouldn’t put their stamp in. And I’m not saying to make it just deer heads and elk all over the place if you’re a hunter, that’d be creepy and weird and I wouldn’t want to go in your house. But that’s because I’m also not a hunter, but maybe it’s different in Ohio and Kentucky.

No offense to you hunters out there.

Exactly, exactly. I’m very far on the spectrum of non-manliness. But with all that said, that even segues into what I think what we’re talking about is make the home a place that represents your values. And when you go to Disney World or Disneyland, it’s very clear that you are living in a theme park that’s not just fun, but it’s actually a representation of Walt Disney’s values. Even down to the cleanliness with the famous stories of him basically creating a culture of picking up every last little piece of trash and training people to do that. And the way he even did the garbage disposal system is because that was a value of his and it was injected into his theme park.

And so for us, some examples, I’d love to hear Jeremy, some of yours, some quick ones for me is I am a huge word person, right? So what I mean by this is I think through words. I think through creeds, I think through values. And so what we do is we literally write them out and print them up all over the house. Whether that’s our breakfast benediction prayer that we say every single morning at breakfast, that’s up in our dining room. Whether it’s our eight pillars and our family mission and vision, that’s up in our living room. Whether that’s phrases and thoughts and quotes that we love that drive us and kind of we want to be surrounding us, that’s definitely a huge… Alyssa, that’s a huge part of her values as well. But I’m definitely a word person and so words are clearly all throughout the house. So I have a couple more, but what are some you would say?

Yeah, this is huge guys. A lot of times, like Jeff said, we think about things like Pinterest and design in terms of interior design is all sort of a realm that maybe we don’t belong in. I know one guy that I talked to actually got ahold of this and his wife was actually an interior designer and he came home and he’s like, “I really want to have more of a conversation between the two of us where we are trying to express our family values.” And it was a great story where she was super skeptical, freaking out. But a year later, they had kind of done a lot of renovation and redecoration and she’s like, “This is incredible. It’s the perfect fusion of our values inside the house.”

And so a lot of times dad’s just like, we just like, “Uh.” We don’t think about that. But I would just encourage you guys, your kids are living inside of the values of your family and it’s important that you don’t give into this idea of realms. That’s her realm, this is my realm, that’s her realm, this is my realm. Your kids need to live inside of the comingling of your realms. Which is the values of the father and the values of the mother really coming together and working themselves out in the way that the home feels, the way it smells.

One of the things I’m obsessed with, my kids know this, is lighting, right? And I told them, “There’s these three profiles of lighting that I really care about how the house is lit. It really changes the mood of the house.” I’m like, “There’s ambient lighting, there’s direct lighting and there’s flood lighting.” And we have rooms that have all three. And I’m like, “These are the moods, this is what I want the evening to feel like-


… to look like.” And so I want hospitality. And it just really sets up a certain kind of atmosphere. I love books, I love a lot of other aspects of hospitality. I like snacks that are right there on hand and drinks we can immediately serve people. There are certain kinds of seating that we’re really into that both April and I really like. And we realized that it’s kind of weird, we built this giant bench seat in our house because we love to be at our window seat, we love to be really close to windows.

So these are all conversations over the last 20 years that April and I have had and it all kind of pointed to this idea of we want our kids to sort of live inside of the theme park of our values. And that’s what a house really is about. And so I encourage you guys to not shy away from this area, to sort of not push this away and think it’s a realm that you don’t belong in. But really begin to dream with your wife about what that might look like. And you might be in an apartment or you might be in between houses and so you might not be living in a house that you think your kids are going to ultimately grow up in or maybe come back to when they’re older. So what are smaller ways that you can create atmospheres in that house so that they can experience those values.

And so just thinking about that creatively, getting on Pinterest, it’s very manly to get on Pinterest and start to look up these things-

Yeah, I love Pinterest.

… create a board. Yeah. Share it with your wife. I tried to do this with a bunch of guy friends. I tried to get them to come on Pinterest with me and none of them took me up on it. So hopefully you guys-

Hey, I love Pinterest. I think it’s an amazing resource. But no, one thing I’ll add there is I think a really good kind of way to think through it is could people walk through your home without you there and have a relatively good idea of who you are and what your values are, right, or what you like? It’s really just as simple as what do you like?

Yeah, and what do you believe, yeah.

Exactly, what do you believe, what do you think on hospitality, et cetera. And so how are things shaped, what’s the big value? And so that’s big to us. And so two last ones I’ll give you for us is, one was easy, kind of like what you said. But yeah, we are a huge book family, probably more than any family I know who lives near us.

And so intentionally, I created pockets everywhere. I didn’t want there to be a library, even though that’d be amazing with a rolling ladder one day. But I wanted books to feel like they were appropriate in every setting. So they’re always exposed, they’re never hidden and they’re never in storage. So there’s huge built-ins in our living room and books everywhere. There’s tons of books under the coffee table, on both side tables, in the dining room. There’s tons of books in the kitchen, there’s tons of books on the day bed and our side room. So on our side table in our rooms and my office, we purposely made them kind of everywhere because we wanted them to feel everywhere as an actual value.

And another one too is play. We want it to be a house of fun and creativity and play. And I want it to be a house where the value was actually we play together with the kids. And so they have a playroom, but they also have a play table that’s right on the living room with us and it’s full of Legos. And I love Legos, they love Legos. And so we purposely put it there, again, as a value of I want to play with them. I want a value to be building, creativity and et cetera. So, yeah, that’s a good one guys. And that’s what we would encourage you with today is don’t be afraid to inject your values, but also just your personality and what you like into your own home. It will become more comfortable for you, more of a domain that you actually want to be in. And it just has a ton of intangible effects and results on your family culture.

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