Men love to talk about being the Alpha. Most like to imagine themselves as the leader, the one who sets the tone. And there are plenty of negative connotations about Alpha males. But men often need to be the Alpha, especially when it comes to friendship and fatherhood. Being the Alpha doesn’t mean you’re never afraid or confused. It doesn’t mean you always have the answer. But it means you don’t hide from problems. You stay engaged. And you refuse to let their friends or family fail. Here’s what I mean.
“This is bullshit. It’s too hot to be out here today.” Dylan wasn’t happy. He’d stayed up too late. He wanted to be at the pool. But he was at baseball practice instead. And he was fielding his 20th ground ball in a row. And they kept coming.
“Get your butt down, Dylan!“, the coach growled. “Stop bending at your waist and start bending those knees!“
“Piss on you“, Dylan muttered under his breath as he went to the back of the line.
After a few more minutes, the team took a break for some water. As he pulled a cold Powerade out of his bag, Dylan heard a voice behind him. “D, let’s talk.“
It wasn’t Coach. It was Jason. Jason was the catcher. He was a solid player, but far from the best. But dude works his ass off. And when he says something, people listen.
“Yo, what’s up?” Dylan asked.
“You know what’s up. Get your shit together.” Jason responded.
“What are you talking about, dude? You’re not gonna talk to me like that.“, Dylan replied, clearly ticked off.
“You know what I’m talking about. This is the second straight day you’ve been dogging it at practice. No more. Get it together.“, said Jason.
“Whatever, man. It’s hot. I’m doing fine. You do you and leave me alone.“, said Dylan.
“Not happening”, Jason replied, looking Dylan square in the eyes. “You’re on my team. And we’re going to work. We may not win, but we’re going to focus and we’re going to work. So either get with the program or take your ass home. We’d rather have you with us. But you’re not going to dog it. Make your decision.” Jason walked off and joined the others.
Dylan knew that Jason wasn’t playing. He could be a bit uptight, but everyone knew that Jason wasn’t to be trifled with. He meant what he said. And he wasn’t going to let it go. Jason was the Alpha. Through his sheer engagement and example, other members of the team respected him, listened to him, and followed him. This meant Dylan legitimately had a decision to make: either up his effort level or face Jason’s (and the rest of the team’s) wrath.
Similarly, you need friends who will bring the Alpha in your life. And you need to be the Alpha for your family.
The Alpha in Friendship
While we love a challenge, we also love the path of least resistance. Every day we’re tempted to cut corners, to compromise, and to give in. It can take many forms:
- skipping our workout
- eating too much junk
- working too much or too little
- sleeping too late or not enough
- ignoring our wives
- ignoring our kids or centering our life around them
- chasing money at the expense of family
- spending too much
- not spending time with friends
Even the best of us get off track from time to time. We get lazy. We get complacent. We get isolated. We get stressed. We get anxious. We get depressed. We get arrogant.
And that’s when we need an Alpha to grab us and speak some truth to us. To tell us what we already know: that we’ve been dogging it. That we need to get better. And that we need to do it now.
So this raises two questions: (1) do you have courageous friends, Alphas, who will keep you on track and (2) are you an Alpha who does that for others? If not, you have work to do.
Your Family Needs an Alpha
But you’re not the only one who needs an Alpha. Your family needs it. Here’s a secret that people without kids don’t know: Your kids are going to try to take over your family. They’re going to try to center it around their interests, desires, and preferences. They’re going to try to enlist you to serve them. They’re going to try to impose values that appeal to their immaturity.
They’re going to want to stay up too late. They’re going to want toys and electronics that they don’t need. They’re going to want to use those things in ways that will harm them. They’re going to want freedom that they haven’t earned. They’re going to want to pursue relationships that will bring them down. They’re going to want to eat junk. They’ll rebel against chores and hard work. They’ll seek the path of least resistance. Just like you did at their age.
Your kids need you have the backbone, the heart, the courage, and the guts to stand up to them.
And that’s why they need you to be an Alpha. They need you to lead. They need you have the backbone, the heart, the courage, and the guts to stand up to them. To say “No” when their immaturity and lack of self-control rise up. They need you to be the Alpha who won’t back down.
They need you to set standards. They need you to hold them to those standards without flinching. You cannot worry about being disliked. You cannot worry about their response. You must be courageous. You must be the Alpha.
Society will tell you not to be an Alpha. They’ll tell you to chill. To go with the flow. That the kids are just going through a phase and that they’ll grow out of it. They’re wrong. If you let them, kids will grow into bad habits. Bad habits become bad traits which often become bad character. Your kids will rise or fall to the level of standards that you require.
Be merciful with mistakes. But acknowledge them as mistakes.
Be tender. Be compassionate. Make your home a safe place for them to rest, to vent, and to cry. Be merciful with mistakes. But acknowledge them as mistakes. Do not accept mistakes as the norm.
Insist that they overcome. Insist that they develop character, work ethic, and pride in themselves and their family. Insist that they uphold high standards. Insist that they do the right things the right way. And here’s the secret: you cannot insist on these things unless you model them.
Being the Alpha doesn’t work if your life is a wreck. “Do as I say, not as I do” never works. Never. So get your life together so that you can lead your family. Having Alphas in your life will help you get there.
Every man needs Alphas in his life. And every man needs to be the Alpha in his home. It takes courage to be the Alpha, to be a good friend and a good father. No matter where you are in life, you can get there. Start today. Godspeed.