One core principle really stands out: intentionality. Parenting can be broken down into micro-wins, and it’s the culmination of those wins that leads to being a “good parent”. For example, it’s controlling your temper and responding with empathy in the moment rather than flying off the handle and damaging the relationship with your child. It’s creating a safe place for your child to communicate in their teenage years so they come to you for advice when it matters most. Finally, it’s allowing your children to fail and serving as their guide and helping them learn from failure in their youth. This way when they fail in adulthood, they have the mechanisms necessary to fail forward.
As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview…
Justin Batt, the founder of Daddy Saturday, a platform to disrupt fatherhood by creating intentional fathers who raise good kids that become great adults. Daddy Saturday started in Justin’s backyard with his four children, and has grown to become a national movement engaging fathers through multiple channels including YouTube video, social media, the Daddy Saturday book, an Alexa skill, podcast, merchandise, keynotes, and live events. Through the Daddy Saturday Foundation, a 501c3 organization, Justin’s goal is to impact 10 million fathers in the next 10 years and eliminate fatherlessness.
In addition to Daddy Saturday, Justin is President of Growth and Revenue for Kameleon Partners, LLC, the global leader in Life Sciences Account Management and EHR Enablement. Justin is a prolific entrepreneur with a retail startup that ranks in the top 10% of U.S. businesses and is a partner in the real estate app ZoomOffers. Justin is also a highly sought-after business advisor and healthcare consultant.
Justin has been recognized for his athletic achievements as an OCR athlete and competes routinely in Spartan races across the country.
Justin is a TEDx and international public speaker, a multi-published author and regular guest on multiple podcasts.
When not at work, Justin can be found helping his wife, Heather, run her bridal enterprise, and spending time with his four children and their bernedoodle, Weekend.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I grew up in a small town in Ohio called Bryan that was home to two things everyone knows: the Etch-a-Sketch and Dum Dum suckers. I had two loving parents and a younger sister, and grew up in a prototypical middleclass home. I played every sport possible and eventually focused on football and baseball, which became my primary passions in life. My senior year of high school I lacerated my kidney in football practice, which caused me to spend a week in the hospital and then a week at home on bed rest. I also missed half of the season, but miraculously returned to the field for my final five games. The injury caused a dramatic shift in my perspective on faith, football, and my future. I was determined to live life to the fullest and expand my horizons. I left Ohio to attend Clemson University in South Carolina for college as a result.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
I spent over 12 years in the bio-pharmaceutical industry working with some of the brightest minds in the medical community and healthcare businesses that changed the landscape of healthcare. I then worked in the publishing industry, helping executives and entrepreneurs become authors and recognized authorities in their field. I’ve lived vicariously through my wife as an entrepreneur over the span of my career, helping her grow a startup couture bridal boutique. It’s the culmination of these experiences that led me to understand my true passion and calling as a connector, and my ability to use this skill to change the future of fatherhood.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
I wake up at 5:00am, spend 30 minutes in prayer, meditation, and reading the Bible. I then exercise for an hour to include a routine I learned from Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, running 4 miles and lifting weights. I make the same breakfast smoothie each day, and then shower and get dressed for the day. I call this my “morning margin,” and it allows me to get in “me time” before the kids wake up. I then bring my wife coffee in bed, help make breakfast, and get the kids ready for their day. My work day typically starts at 9:00am and ends at 6:00pm
Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
There are two forms of fatherlessness. The first is the lack of a biological father in the home, and this affects over 20 million children in the U.S. today. The consequences are huge, as many of the societal ills we face today like poverty, obesity, drug abuse, prison time, and teenage pregnancy are all byproducts of fatherlessness. On the other side of fatherlessness, we have millions of other children who are suffering from presenteeism, which is a father who’s physically present, but emotionally absent. When a father is not intentional and engaged with their children, it creates a father wound which impacts the child in their youth, into adulthood, and, for some, the rest of their lives.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
Time is our most valuable asset, and the time with your children in the home is finite. When raising kids the days can be so long, but the years really are so short. The average child only has 930 weeks in the home, and as parents we have a narrow window to mold and shape our children to become happy and productive members of society when they enter adulthood. In Daddy Saturday, we talk about the principle that far more is caught than taught. Spending time with you children allows them to see you modeling character traits, like integrity or work ethic, and managing emotions like anger. For fathers with sons, their children should learn what it means to be a man from observing their father. For fathers with daughters, they should learn about how a man appropriately treats a female and what to look for in a future husband. If the children don’t learn these characteristics at home they will either have to find them elsewhere, develop a void that becomes a detractor in adulthood, or learn negative traits from our culture.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
Daddy Saturday started by making an intentional decision to spend quality time engaging my children on Saturdays. I began developing a “game plan” for our day together, and the entire focus of the day was intentional time with my children. During the week, I calendar 15 minute 1-on-1 time with each of my children, which often turns into 30 minutes or more. This is a weekly check-in on life, school, and our communication, and it’s become part of our family’s rhythm. During dinner, which can be one of the most stressful times of the day with four children, we started playing Table Topics: Family Edition as a way to engage our children in meaningful conversation and to learn more about their thoughts and beliefs. Dinner has gone from chaotic to conversational, and is a quality time moment in our family.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?
1. Create a morning margin. I start my day at 5am and incorporate prayer, meditation, reading, exercise, and personal development all before my kids get out of bed. With four children this is the only time I can make this happen, and if I were to wait until the afternoon or evening to exercise, for example, it wouldn’t happen most days. I would be left with tension and thinking about exercise, instead of being fully present with my children.
2. Blend your personal and professional calendars, and calendar everything. I place appointments like daddy-daughter date night, boys baseball game, or huntin’, fishin’ and lovin’ every day on my calendar. These appointments with my children are as important as any business meeting and cannot be cancelled or rescheduled unless there’s a legitimate emergency.
3. Don’t overschedule yourself or your children. Until Uber Kids is a legitimate option, my wife and I cannot be four places at once with all four of our children. We’ve made a decision to allow our children to play one sport or one activity per season, and we discuss as a family before anyone adds more to their plate.
4. Before I walk into the house after a workday, I pause in the driveway and meditate for a moment to clear out all of the “work” from my head and release any and all expectations before I walk into the house. This allows me to be calm and prepared to engage my children the moment I walk in the door.
5. I turn off technology or place my cell phone in an area like the bedroom that’s away from where we are interacting. This way I have no temptation to look at or engage my screen and can be fully present in the moment. I may pick it back up after they go to bed and my wife and I have had our time, but then it’s on my time and not the limited time I have with my children.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
Parenting could very well be the hardest job in the world, so defining someone as a “good parent” is a significant accomplishment. To me, a good parent is someone who raises good kids who become great adults. There are many factors that go into raising good kids who become great adults, but one core principle really stands out: intentionality. Parenting can be broken down into micro-wins, and it’s the culmination of those wins that leads to being a “good parent”. For example, it’s controlling your temper and responding with empathy in the moment rather than flying off the handle and damaging the relationship with your child. It’s creating a safe place for your child to communicate in their teenage years so they come to you for advice when it matters most. Finally, it’s allowing your children to fail and serving as their guide and helping them learn from failure in their youth. This way when they fail in adulthood, they have the mechanisms necessary to fail forward.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
We have a mantra in our home: Gratitude + Attitude = Altitude (G+A=A). The amount of gratitude you have determines your attitude, which ultimately determines your altitude. Altitude meaning the achievement of your dreams. We do goal setting with our children each summer as it’s the start of their year. During our goal setting sessions, the children come up with SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timebound) goals for core areas of their life, including faith, family, friends, fitness, finances, and education. They set one or more big goals in each category and then we work backwards quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily to determine what’s necessary to reach the goal. They have learned that in order to reach a “big” goal,they must do the work daily in order to get there.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Success to me is how well I manage the tension between career and family. It’s not about being perfect, but instead working to show up as my best self in each and every situation in my career and with my family. I have a written picture of what I want life to look like 25 years from now, and have vivid details of where we will be, the status of my faith, what my marriage will be like, who my children and grandchildren will have become, the condition of my health, and what my financial achievements will be. This painted picture is my definition of success.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
As far as books, I love Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend — it’s foundational for learning how to say no and preserve your best “yes”. I also like QBQ by Miller, because it’s essential for personal accountability and asking what can I do as a parent to make this situation different. Total Money Makeover by Ramsey — financial stress is the #1 factor in most marital issues, and I would venture to say parenting issues. This book eliminates the issues if followed. For podcasts: The Professional Noticer by Andy Andrews — practical advice on raising good kids who become great adults. Your Move by Andy Stanley — the greatest communicator of our time gives advice on living life with fewer regrets. My favorite resources are Parent CUE App, and, of course, the Daddy Saturday Alexa Skill!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, set up a life you don’t need to escape from. — Seth Godin”. I found myself overcome, overwhelmed, and frankly ungrateful for my beautiful wife and my four incredible children. I viewed my children as a burden sometimes rather than a blessing. The tension between work and home was ripping me apart in both directions. I took this life lesson and made a wholesale change leaving Corporate America, starting Daddy Saturday and reclaiming the life and career I wanted to engage in rather than escape from.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The mission of the Daddy Saturday movement is to impact 10 million fathers in the next 10 years and end fatherlessness. One day soon, social media will be filled with fathers and their children engaging in a Daddy Saturday and creating epic moments together. Through the Daddy Saturday Foundation 501(c)(3) we will reach incarcerated fathers, military fathers and those left behind due to a spouse in service and fathers in financial need to help them be more intentional and engaged fathers. This is how we will change the world, one Daddy Saturday at a time!
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!