I want to share with you a turning point in my life. A point in time where my vision became clearer, my determination grew stronger and my passion for doing what was right became absolute. That point in time was when I had my first child. Forest. Reinforced when I had my second, Silas. Honestly. Having kids was terrifying! I have always been a responsible person… well that’s not true. I have MOSTLY been a responsible person. However, I didn’t realize what REAL responsibility really meant. I mean I was now fully in charge of innocent life. To feed it, to clothe it, to teach it. How in the world was I going to do that?! I could barely take care of myself at the time.
This got me to do a lot of thinking. I needed to figure out a plan on how a skinny nerdy computer programmer by day and immature computer gamer by night like me was going to actually raise a child effectively. That's when I started seeking knowledge. Someone must have the answers out there. I sought counsel from my dad, sisters, friends, sometimes even strangers in airports. I've even gone to some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers, and stoics of all time. Epictetus, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius. Great strategists like Sun Tzu. Even more modern thinkers like Freud, Carl Jung, Jean Piaget. Jordan Peterson. Especially Peterson. That guy is a genius.
However, this is when the scariest revelation of my life occurred to me… Something that Peterson said on some YouTube video that scared me right to the bone…. The world, nature in general is not kind to weakness. It is especially not kind to weak people. That's scary to hear man when you have two children that are looking up to you. It got me wondering, Was I strong? Would I be able to make my sons strong? What did strong even mean? What did weak mean? It was too abstract.
This is when I started to develop some of my own personal philosophies. I needed to boil down these messages I was learning into simple to understand bite-size chunks that children could easily comprehend. Try reading Sun Tzus Chapter on Tactical Dispositions to a 8-year-old. Not. A. Good. Time. So again I went to work… filtering, organizing, and simplifying the most important parts of this newfound information.
While I have many lessons for my sons, here is the base foundational law I teach my children. I will now share it with you. BECAUSE the world is not kind to weak people, the first basic responsibility in life is to make yourself strong. Body, Mind, and most importantly Heart. Why Heart? If you are only strong in mind or body. Or you are only strong in both, thats when you are in your most corruptible state. Strong hearts is what keeps corruption at bay and we ARE ALL corruptible. The second rule of life is to help others become strong. However not just anyone. Only those who are willing to put in the work and ready to become strong. Trying to help those unwilling to do the work only results in entropy. It results in a waste of time and energy that could have been used on someone who was willing to do the work to become strong.
DO IT, NOT SAY IT
Man, I have said those words sooo many times to my kids. Then one night it occurred to me…. the funny part about parenting is this… and you parents out there are well aware of this. You can say all the things you want to them but most times “just words” are lost on them. Why? Because they are human. Because humans, especially children, psychologically speaking, are creatures of imitation. That means I needed to do even more. Not only did I need to say this information but now I realized I had to actually go DO IT.
This whole responsibility thing was starting to become a LOT of work.
9 years ago I embarked on a life journey with my best friend Jake. I had a mission in my mind to demonstrate these principles to my sons. I quit my job and started a business in the firearms industry. Something I knew very little about at the time. I learned to shoot. I learned to lead. I started working out, taking care of my body. I started to eat better and force myself to sleep better. I learned to compromise and negotiate effectively. It then dawned on me one day… perhaps... perhaps... I was getting strong. All this new strength was coming from a place I least expected it. It was coming from my willingness to adopt responsibility.
Do you know what else I learned on this journey?
I also learned that there is a small army of people out there that were on this same life journey that I was on. I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t just Jake and I. There were people working hard to become strong, independent with kind hearts. People that also cared deeply for the community around them, hungry to lift others up, enlighten them, improve them and love them. Willing to adopt responsibility for themselves and others. That small army is YOU. The firearms community.
Here is one of the coolest things about this community that I’ve observed over the years. You guys are willing to adopt one of the greatest responsibilities of our nation. Maybe our world. To Face and bear persecution to protect our freedom and right to self-defense against opponents both foreign and domestic. To honor our second amendment and to teach it to our youth so they can enjoy and grow from the responsibility of freedom. That's right. That’s the lesson right there. FREEDOM IS RESPONSIBILITY. You know what’s cool about that. RESPONSIBILITY IS STRENGTH.
We are incredibly effective when we get organized and work together. This is why I am here today inviting you to not only do this on your own but to purposefully, in full consciousness work with me on my personal mission. Our families, our communities, our nation needs you to go out there and continue to grow THIS SPECIFIC community. To volunteer for events. To take a kid shooting. To say and do kind things. To spread the word to others that are ready to be strong. That are ready to be responsible. That understand how important freedom is for the future of our country. It's so important that we not just say the words but emulate this for our sons and daughters. If we show them the way together, we will not only help our kids become strong but also show the rest of the world that is hungry to become strong, the right way to do so.
And for you kids out there, LISTEN UP. Forest, Silas, Kaitlin, Raegan, Jay, Kyle, Annie, Aiden, Quaid, Quinn, Marcus, Gracie, Colten, Nelson, Emily, Rachel, George, Andrew, Tony, Caleb, Stephanie, Aiden, Nelson. I really REALLY hope you are paying attention. We are working hard to not only say the words but also SHOW you the way. When we are done here one day, and we will be, it will be YOUR turn. When it IS your turn there are also expectations on you. Those expectations are not only to do this as well as we have but we expect you to do it even better. And you know what?... I know you will.