Strengths of Fathers: A Fathers' Day Special

Personal | 8 Minutes Read

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As an advocate for strengths, i believe that an effective leader is a leader who knows his/her strengths, and knows how to lead from his/her strengths. In the same way, similar philosophy could be applied to the styles of parenting, it could be true that all fathers interact and love with their unique talents and strengths. 

On Father’s Day, much of the world will be celebrating their fathers and what they have done for their families. This week, we speak to the father figures in the team, who are also our co-founders and principal coaches in Strengths School. We interviewed them to find out how they have used their strengths in their personal journey with their children.

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At work, Victor Seet is the World’s 1st and only Platinum & Gold Award Gallup-Certified StrengthsFinder Coach. 

At home, he is a father of two sons and a 1 month old daughter. He often spends time with his children by bringing them out of the house and going to different places. Being on the move gives him great energy to engage with his children. Victor's Top 5 Strengths are 

ActivatorCommunicationStrategicSelf-AssuranceCommand.

At work, Jason Ho is  Southeast Asia & Singapore’s 1st Gallup Certified StrengthsFinder Coach and Platinum Coach. At home, Jason is a father of four children, each with unique personalities. He enjoys bringing his family out on bicycle rides around the neighborhood as an opportunity to share the joy of discovery with them. Jason's Top 5 Strengths are 

IdeationStrategicAdaptabilityRelatorSelf-Assurance.

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Below is an interview with Victor and Jason:

1) As a father, how do you feel you have used your strengths in parenting? Please share some examples.

V: As an Activator, my parenting style is about being on the go with my kids. I struggle most when I’m at home as I feel boxed up. I feel alive when I bring the kids out.

My Activator talent comes out most in engaging with my two boys. Knowing that they love trains and buses, I’m always taking them on train and bus rides. The Activator part of me feels very engaged in movement.

The rides provide the platform for me to enjoy quality time with the kids. In the most recent staycation which was planned for me to have bonding time with the two boys, most of the time was spent on train rides (we took all the different train lines and travel across Singapore).

My Command talent comes out a lot in making sure the boys adhere to the values, routines and habits that my wife, Michelle, and I have set for them.

My wife also commented my Strategic talent is constantly at play. I’m always looking to find the best option to prevent a meltdown (for both the kids as well as the parents)! I often play out scenarios in my head to find the best option for the kids to be engaged in the most efficient and least tiring way for the parents.

J: When I recall the times I felt most energized, it's usually when I've had a great idea (Ideation) on the spur of the moment (Adaptability). 

Once during the weekend, my eldest son Caden woke up earlier than everyone else in the family, I was talking to him about what breakfast he wanted. A sudden spark went off in my mind to take him out on my e-scooter to buy breakfast for the family nearby.

While scooting off to buy breakfast, I asked him if he wanted to go to Gardens By the Bay and "bird watch". We went on to spend almost two hours taking notes and trying to identify all the rare birds we spotted during the ride (doing all of this while we were both in our pajamas!). When we got back home, the entire family was awake and we still managed to buy breakfast for them. 

Many months later,  I asked him to share with me, a moment when he enjoyed his time with me the most; a time when he felt most loved. He told me that it was that specific day when I brought him to watch the birds at Gardens by the Bay. 

2) Out of your Top 5 strengths, which strength do your children LOVE and which strength drives them CRAZY?

V: I think my boys love my Activator theme because they enjoy going out with me to different places. The excitement they show whenever I tell them that I’m bringing them out creates a huge motivation for me as well.

My Command theme probably drives them crazy. In those moments when they are playing a fool and not listening to my wife, I can get quite fierce and firm with them. Both my boys can now imitate my angry face and actions to other people whenever I get upset with them.

J: They love my Ideation. Sometimes during bedtime story, instead of reading a book, I'll have an idea of a story where my kids play the lead roles in fighting off baddies and defeating a "boss" by gaining special powers and working together as a team. These usually involve them deciding on the paths to take in the story and i will build the story as we talk. In the end, everyone overcomes and defeats the odds in my Ideation universe. 

My Adaptability sometimes (most of the times actually) drive them crazy. One time when I was bringing the 4 of them out by myself, I suggested, "let's go somewhere nearby to scoot around". Along the way and in the spur of the moment, I would change my mind and we end up somewhere else that was unplanned. Our conversation would often sound a little like this: 

Child 1: I thought we were going to "X"? 

Child 2: Ya Papa, you said we were going to "X".

Me: Yes, but that was just now. Now we're going to "Y". 

*children looking confused at one another*

3) How do you think StrengthsFinder can help other fathers?

V: Two key ways. Firstly, I think knowing our unique parenting style through StrengthsFinder can create necessary and helpful dialogues with your spouse; to discuss more effective parenting methods and to cutback on the conflicts. By discussing what we are more inclined to do and the things that are important to one another, it reduces the tendency to second-guess and allows for parenting to be more productive.

Secondly, intentionally using our strengths to engage with our kids create more motivation and more authenticity for each parent. I strongly believe the kids can tell when the parents are simply going through the motion v.s. when they are genuinely enjoying the activities together. Using our strengths to engage with our kids increase our own motivation and enjoyment in parenting.

J: Because each of us are motivated/energized differently (based on our strengths) in how we love and interact with our children, we need to quickly realize that we are completely different from our spouse.  

Similar to the 5 love languages, we have our own Top 5 StrengthsFinder themes that give us clues as to how we are likely to show love to one another, including our children. 

Be it at home or at work, you feel most energized and joyful when you use these talents that you have. Your colleagues and family can also feel a higher level of engagement from you. 

However, when you're not using what you were built to do, you feel drained and that affects the people around you as well. 

A very happy father's day to all the leaders in the house. Try taking note of the times you felt most energized with your kids. I can almost guarantee you that you were most likely using your talents to engage your children. 

Concluding thoughts:

One of the greatest title that one can bear is that of a father. Through my years of working with youths, I witnessed parents who struggled to find a parenting style that they truly resonate with. This often leads to misunderstandings and conflict with their children and spouses. 

I hope that through this article, more parents will be encouraged to not only invest in their children's strengths, but in their own strengths as well. I truly believe that this will unlock doors for open conversations and deeper understanding between father and child.

This post is dedicated to all fathers for their never-ending love and patience for their children!

Happy Father's Day!


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WRITTEN BY JEFFREY SEOW

Jeffrey Seow is a Strengths advocate and part of the Youth Development arm at Strengths School™. Jeffrey’s passion lies in empowering youths with tools to develop self-awareness and confidence. He is anchored in his belief that every human interaction is on purpose and carries the potential to transform lives positively.


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