Passing Notes

The “dead drop” has its history firmly rooted in espionage tradecraft. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s simply a way to pass messages between two people using a secret location that doesn’t require the two of them to meet. Also known as a “dead letter box”, the container is usually hidden in a location that wouldn’t raise suspicions if either operative were seen there. Containers can vary in size, shape, and construction and some can even be an electronic format where the agent can upload/download data using a USB or a wireless format. Generally, it’s placed so that the agent can quickly approach the location and empty the container’s contents without been seen. The whole idea behind this tactic is to protect the operational security between the two operators, but to a 10-year-old girl, it makes for a fun way to pass letters to her friend.

My daughter has a friend in the neighborhood and they decided they’d like to write letters back and forth to each other. I’m frugal and couldn’t see wasting stamps on a letter that only needs to travel less than a half mile away so I suggested using a dead drop instead. She was instantly hooked on the idea so we got on our bikes and spent some time scouting out an inconspicuous location about halfway between the two girls’ houses. A simple Tupperware container would keep the letters protected from moisture and animals so we camouflaged it with some spray paint and hid it well. The girls are happy and now have an adventurous (and free) way to pass letters using a method that high-level operatives also use.

This desire for adventure is not unique to men. Girls (daughters, wives, girlfriends) like to be part of the journey too. I strive to find ways to make my daughter part of the adventure and give her the attention she needs from Dad before she finds someone else to do it.

So in the same vein of the dead drop analogy, this got me thinking about a deeper meaning. As it relates to her upbringing, how could I pass a ‘message’ to my daughter and her future spouse using a covert method? A way to deliver one of the most important messages that I could ever impart to her without blowing my cover (a.k.a. not in a cheesy, Dad kind of way) and not overstepping my bounds and smothering her during the upcoming teenage years.

A Customized Program

Here’s the situation: my daughter is still really young, but already very pretty. I’ve come to the realization that someday she’ll have a boyfriend and probably get married. That forces me to do a lot of thinking, planning and praying. If you’re a parent that has a daughter, I’m sure you have a special concern for their safety and upbringing. Dads can probably relate to this a little better since they know how boys think. One of my greatest fears is that our little girl will end up marrying a guy who has no skills or motivation and is largely unequipped to provide and care for her. Even worse, what if one of these ‘undesirables’ pursue her and despite our best efforts as parents, she takes an interest in one?

There are too many examples of fantastic parents that have had their daughters go off and date or even marry guys that most of us wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies, much less our prized offspring. So why is this happening so often and what can be done about it? The problem can’t lie squarely on the shoulders of parenting since even the parents that do everything right often have the same dilemma. Another hurdle in this delicate process is finding the appropriate balance between being involved in her life but not so involved that she rebels with disastrous consequences. So what’s a dad to do?

Raise the Skill Level Bar

My background is in training significant people to overcome difficult circumstances. In short, to make them better than their enemies. My approach with my daughter follows this same concept. In a nut shell, the tactic is to develop such high-level skills within my daughter that only the best and most qualified guys can keep up with her. I want to put her out of the league of most guys so that both she and they can clearly see the disparity between their abilities and hers. My hope is that this will not only discourage most guys from even trying to date her but also cause her to hold her candidates to a much higher standard spiritually, mentally and physically. Her skill level should inspire a confidence and self-worth in her that gives her the assurance that she deserves someone who has similar proficiencies and expertise that was cultivated in her at an early age.

Where Do We Start?

What kind of skills are we talking about? Here are some things on the list that we’ve already been working on:

  • Combatives
  • Wilderness survival
  • Climbing
  • Weapons familiarization
  • Problem solving
  • Physical fitness
  • Financial management
  • Communication skills*

*Gavin de Becker has some outstanding lessons for women on how to say no and recognize early warning signs in his book The Gift of Fear. This critical aspect of mental fitness can (and should) be communicated to girls by their fathers at a young age.

Icing on the Cake

This training also has the added benefit of making her a really useful human and ready for the challenges of real life. These are life skills in the truest sense of the word. The beauty of it all and really the hidden motive here is that during the acquisition of these skills, I’m cementing a bond with her that will outlast the stressors and chaotic time commonly known as adolescence. Moreover, if I established the standard now of what a male should be and should do, then she’ll take that benchmark with her when selecting a companion.

We All Win

Maybe you don’t have a daughter. Then train your son. My boy is 4 and his training will mirror his sisters’ training. After all, we need boys with practical talents that will grow into men who know how to care for the ladies in their lives, their communities and eventually their own children.

Passing a ‘covert’ message to your children using a wide and varied approach is vital to their self-confidence and will pay huge dividends in both their lives and yours. Involve them in the adventure and they’ll learn two things:

1-My parents care enough to spend the time to include me.

2-Relevant skills that help them through life.

What skills are you practicing in your tribe? Leave a comment below!