Podcast #209: What the Navy SEALs Can Teach You About Raising Your Kids

If you’re a dad, you probably want to raise kids who are responsible and resilient. But how do you do that?

Well, as we learned in my podcast with Jocko Willink, the Navy SEALs have perfected the art of training responsible and resilient special operators, and can teach business leaders a thing or two about thriving in uncertainty. Perhaps there’s something us dads can learn from them as well.

My guest today is retired Navy SEAL Eric Davis and he’s the author of Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons. We discuss his time boarding enemy ships as a SEAL, why fatherhood today is like asymmetric warfare, and how to lead from the front as a father. If you’re a dad or a dad to be, you’re going to get a lot out of this show. Even if you’re not a dad, the principles we discuss today can help you become a better man.

Show Highlights

  • Eric’s time as a SEAL doing ship boarding, or as he calls it, “legal pirating”
  • How Eric shifted from SEAL sniper training to business consulting
  • Why Eric think masculinity has been hijacked by popular culture
  • How “chasing the bullseye” in fatherhood will result in failure as a dad
  • The fundamentals dads should focus on
  • How raising boys is different from raising girls
  • How fathering follows the three phases of SEAL Training
  • How “respecting your kids’ respect” makes you a better family leader
  • How to teach your kids personal responsibility
  • Why fathering is like asymmetric warfare
  • Why dads should develop “immediate action drills” for their family
  • What Navy SEAL dog training can teach you about parenting
  • Eric’s nuanced approach to “participation trophies”
  • Creating intentional discomfort for your kids to help them grow
  • Why it’s better to keep up than catch up
  • Why “leading from the front” is the most important thing you can do as a dad

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

  • Ship boarding
  • Uncommon Tony Dungy
  • How Spartans raised their kids
  • Asymmetric warfare
  • Three phases of SEAL training
  • My podcast with Jocko Willink
  • How to parent like a video game
  • Belgian Malinois– the dog of SEAL teams
  • Positive and negative punishment


If you’re a dad or a dad to be, check out Raising Men by Eric Davis. Lots of great actionable advice on how to raise kids who are tough, resilient, and responsible. Plus, his SEAL stories are awesome and fun to read.

Connect with Eric

Tell Eric “Thanks” for being on the Art of Manliness Podcast

Eric’s Website

Eric on Twitter

Eric on Facebook

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Read the Transcript

Coming soon!

Source: Art of Manliness

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