I was recently invited to write for GetConnectDAD‘s 52 Traits campaign. Its focus is to provide a platform for dads to talk about the traits that we would like to help instill into our children.  Below is my guest piece on the topic of being Passionate (or click here to view it on their site).

When people hear the word “passionate”, they often assume it is connected to the romantic realm; it’s just one of those words that tends to be associated with a singular meaning.  “Passionate” can also, unfortunately, trigger assumptions that what is about to be said will be sexual or even pornographic.  Be honest: when you read the title above, did a little part of you think that you were about to read about dating or marriage?  Maybe something along the lines of “Five Tricks To Keep The Romance Alive After Kids”?  Sorry to disappoint but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re needing that.

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Think about someone in your life that you would gladly follow: a boss, a friend, a parent.  Someone who you naturally trust to “lead you into battle”.  Now think about someone that is the polar opposite.  A person that you’d rather not even have on your team, let alone trust enough to follow.  What separates these types of people?  Would it be their upbringing?  Gender?  Race?  Socio-economic status?  Get past the surface level profiling and you’re left with one key trait:

Passion.

Yes, passion is a requirement for healthy, romantic relationships but that is not its only purpose.  Passion is about so much more than that.

When you love what you do and don’t dread going to your job every day, that’s passion.  When you spend hours working on a project that others would avoid, that’s passion.  When you want to learn everything there is to know about a topic, even if it is not required to pass a class or get a promotion, that’s passion.

Passion is what allows us to become successful and to achieve great things.  It is what pushes us to not give up even when others would throw in the towel.  Passionate people are inspiring and compelling; they are leaders that we gladly follow.  We look at them and think “I want what they have”.

I have been dreaming about how to be a proper father to my baby girl since my wife and I opened that envelope last Christmas.  What will I raise her on?  What cartoons should she watch?  What board games should we play?  What video games should I introduce to her?  Before I started to become overwhelmed with all of that, I already knew that one of my top goals was to teach her how to be someone that is passionate.

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I consider myself a bit of a nerd.  Video games?  They can be fun.  RPGs?  Never actually tried a proper one.  Books?  I recognize some author’s names but I’m not as much a Reader as my wife.  But I love movies!  I love watching and critiquing them; I love feeling the emotion that a great actor can give their character (Matthew McConaughey in “Interstellar” watching the video messages from his kids absolutely wrecked me – big ‘ol man sized tears).  I enjoy looking into previous work of specific directors, cinematographers, and writers to see how they have refined their craft.  I then seek out their films even if they fall into a genre that I would normally avoid (this happened with “The Cabin in the Woods” simply because Joss Whedon wrote it).  I also love comics and the stories they tell; I love collecting and building with Lego; I love spending an evening with family and laughing over each other’s stories; I love having deep and challenging conversations with friends and strangers regarding my Christian faith.  You get me going on one of these topics and I light up because I am absolutely passionate about them!

Being nerdy just means being passionate about something, including everyone – the coolest people on Earth are passionate and therefore nerdy about something whatever it is, whether it’s sports, or gaming, or technology, or fashion, or beauty, or food, or whatever. – Zachary Levi

I want my daughter to learn how to be nerdy; to learn how to be passionate about something.  I want her to know that her passions should not be hidden just because some kids at school don’t share them.  I want her passions to impact and guide whatever she does in life.  The only way she will be learn to embrace her nerdy desires – the only way she will learn to be passionate about whatever is of interest to her (be it books like her mom, movies like her dad, or something else entirely) will be if she is given the example by her parents.  If she sees it everyday in her father.

It is my responsibility, privilege, and joy to cultivate my daughter’s passion and to encourage her nerdy behavior.  That requires me to remember to be someone who is unafraid to spend time doing the things that he loves, even when other people think they are silly or childish.  If my daughter is nerdy – if she is passionate – there will be nothing in this life that she will be unable to accomplish.  She only has to learn how.

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